For more than a decade, New Zealand winery representatives and winemakers visit Toronto to pour their wines for the trade and public during two separate events.
For the trade, organizers arrange a special and focused seminar.
This year, selected sparkling wines and chardonnays were presented from both South- and North Islands.
New Zealand stretches for more than 1500 kilometres from the northern tip of the North Island to the most southern point of the South island.
New Zealand, tucked away in a remote corner of the globe, is a country of unspoiled landscapes, exotic flora and fauna, and is renowned for its spirit of innovation.
In the North Island, there are six regions (Northland, Waikato/Bay of Planty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Auckland, and Wairarapa).
Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury/Waipara Valley, and Central Otago constitute the major wine producing regions of the South Island.
New Zealand is best known for its distinct sauvignon blanc wines, but the country produces varietal wines using riesling, pinot gris, gewürztraminer, chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon, and other experimental varieties.
New Zealand wines brim with fruit, purity, varietal character and appealing mouth feel.
While sauvignon blanc has been attracting millions of wine drinkers, during the last decade pinot noir from Central Otago, and now from Marlborough and Nelson have become famous due to their depth of flavour and unmistakable aromas.
Hugh Johnson, the famous English wine author once said: “In Central Otago I tasted pinots that would win prizes in the Cote de Beaune”.
New Zealand’s vineyards cover a little more than 34 000 hectares and supply more than 690 wineries that produce less than one per cent of the world’s wine output, but export $ 169.0 million worth of wines to several countries (2013 figures), the U.S.A, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Hong-Kong, Singapore, and Japan being the most important).
Before the public tasting, organizers offered a seminar for wine writers to better understand terroir differences between the South- and North Islands.
During the seminar, we tasted six sparkling wines from the South-
and six chardonnays from the North Island.
May selection follows from the New Zealand Wine Fest:
Brut, Quartz Reef Winery, Central Otago
Pale yellow colour. Apple aromas with a hint of brioche. Invigorating mouth feel.
Chardonnays from the South Island
Chardonnay, 1013, Waimea, Nelson
Smells of jasmine are followed by ripe citrus and peach flavours. Beautifully balanced, medium-bodied and intense.
Chardonnay Reserve, 2013, Seresin Estate
Offers savoury and complex aromas. In the mouth, the acidity is backed with orchard fruit flavours with considerable minerality.
A finely balanced, and delightful wine.
Chardonnay, 2011, John Forrest Collection, Central Otago
A masterfully balanced, fragrant, delicious and intense chardonnay to enjoy on its own or with seafood based appetizers, chicken breast Sandeman, or sole fillets in white wine and cream sauce.
Chardonnay, 2012, Toi Toi Wines, Marlborough
Golden colour. A smoky aromatic nose offers notes of slate with an exciting palate of stone fruits and spice. Invigorating, with a long finish
The walk around tasting took place in another room where most of the wines poured were sauvignon banc along with varietals
The following stood out:
Province Sauvignon Blanc, 2013, Astrolabe Wines, Marlborough
Waitake Valley Pasqua Chardonnay, 2012, Kurow Estate, Central Otago
Land and Legends Sauvignon Blanc, 2013, Matua Wines, Marlborough
Pioneer Black 2 Sauvignon Blanc, 2013, St. Clair Family Estates
The Lodge Chardonnay, 2013, Sileni Estate, Hawke’s Bay
Pinot Noir, 2012, Bannockburn, Central Otago
Pinot Noir, 2010, Aunstfied Estates, Marlborough
Le Phant Blanc, 2011, Elephant Hill, Hawke’s Bay 89/100
Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinto Noir, 2011, Craggy Range, Marlborough
Roaring Meg Pinot Noir, 2013, Mount Difficulty Winery, Central Otago
Rocky Point Pinot Noir, 2013, Prophet’s Rock Wines, Central Otago
Rockbrun Pinot Noir, 2014, Rockburn Winery, Central Otago