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
Chardonnay, 2012, Craggy Range
Chardonnay, 2012, Pasquale, Waitake Valley
Chardonnay, 2013, Stoneleigh
Small Parcel Pinot Gris, 2013, Kim Crawford
The Ned , 2014, Marisco
The King’s Thorn Pinot Gris, 2014, Marisco
Pinto Gris, 2011, Pasquale
Pinto gris, 2014, Waimea
Three Stones Pinto Gris, 2014, Yealand’s Wine Group
Black Label, Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, Babich
Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, Auntsfield
Sauvignon Blanc, 2013, Craggy Range
Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, 2013, Elephants Hill
Sauvignon Blanc, 2013, Grove Hill
Sauvignon Gris, 2014, Waimea
Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, Middle Earth
The Straits Sauvignon Blanc, Sileni
Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, Yealand’s Wine Group
Sauvignon Blanc, 2015, Villa Maria
Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, Villa Maria
Pinot Noir, 2012, Akarua, Otago
Rua Pinto Noir, 2014, Akarua
Single Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2013, Auntsfield, Marlborough
Pinot Noir, 2013, Blind River, Marlborough, Awatere Valley
Pinot Noir, 2013, Hunter, Marlborough
Pinto Noir, 2012, Middle Earth
Pinot Noir, 2011, Pasquale
Syrah, 2011, Craggy Range, Hawkes’ Bay
John Howard, 2013, Craggy Range, Gimblett Gravels