Wine, Wine Reviews

Tasting New Zealand Wines

New Zealand Wine Fest
New Zealand Wine

New Zealand’s North- and South Islands produce wines in Otago, Marlborough, Nelson are notable regions on teh South Island.

The North Island’s somewhat warmer than Marlborough most notable region is Hawke’s Bay. Hawke’s Bay’s Gimblett Gravels is somewhat warmer than the region on average and the soil composition more suitable for warm climate grape varieties such as syrah, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. Gimblett Gravels was delimited by six wineries that own and farm grapes there.

New Zealand has made a name for itself with sauvignon blanc, most of which originate in Marlborough, but Nelson to the west has acquired a following for its version of sauvignon blanc.

While sauvignon blanc is very popular in England, the U S A and Canada, chardonnay, the second most widely planted white grape in the country, tastes fine and is reasonably priced.

The most famous red wine of New Zealand is pinot noir, especially those from Otago, but Marlborough now produces some noteworthy pinot noirs as well.

While sauvignon blanc is the most popular white wine next to chardonnay, several wineries make gruner veltliner, riesling, viognier, pinot gris, sauvignon vert, and gewürztraminer either as a varietal wine, or in their blends. Consumers who look for exciting drinks should not overlook them.

Otago on the South Island is best known for its impressive and powerful pinot noirs, but Hawke’s Bay on the North Island grows respectable syrah, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc especially on the Gimblett Gravels.

Recently I tasted 60 New Zealand wines and was impressed with the quality.

Most are available at L C B O stores as general list products, others as consignment wines and yet others are offered in Vintages releases.

The following list represents my recommendations:

Chardonnay, 2012, Auntsfield
88+/100

Chardonnay, 2012, Craggy Range
91/100

Chardonnay, 2012, Pasquale, Waitake Valley
91/100

Chardonnay, 2013, Stoneleigh
89+/100

Small Parcel Pinot Gris, 2013, Kim Crawford
90/100

The Ned , 2014, Marisco
88/100

The King’s Thorn Pinot Gris, 2014, Marisco
89/100

Pinto Gris, 2011, Pasquale
89+/100

Pinto gris, 2014, Waimea
88/100

Three Stones Pinto Gris, 2014, Yealand’s Wine Group
90+/100

Black Label, Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, Babich
88/100

Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, Auntsfield
90/100

Sauvignon Blanc, 2013, Craggy Range
88+/100

Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, 2013, Elephants Hill
90/100

Sauvignon Blanc, 2013, Grove Hill
89/100

Sauvignon Gris, 2014, Waimea
89/100

Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, Middle Earth
90/100

The Straits Sauvignon Blanc, Sileni
89/100

Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, Yealand’s Wine Group
89/100

Sauvignon Blanc, 2015, Villa Maria
88/100

Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, Villa Maria
88+/100

Red wines

Pinot Noir, 2012, Akarua, Otago
89/100

Rua Pinto Noir, 2014, Akarua
91+/100

Single Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2013, Auntsfield, Marlborough

Pinot Noir, 2013, Blind River, Marlborough, Awatere Valley
89/100

Pinot Noir, 2013, Hunter, Marlborough
88/100

Pinto Noir, 2012, Middle Earth
89/100

Pinot Noir, 2011, Pasquale
88+/100

Syrah, 2011, Craggy Range, Hawkes’ Bay
88/100

John Howard, 2013, Craggy Range, Gimblett Gravels
91/100

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