Wines of New Zealand tasting – April 2023

New Zealand is only the 15th highest wine producing country in the world; however they do put an emphasis on quality.  In the UK on average we spend more per bottle on New Zealand wine than any other country.

In this tasting my aim was to go beyond Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to try wines from other grapes and other regions; the wines we tried were:

Louis Vavasour LV Methode Traditionelle NV

This is a sleek and stylish sparkling wine. Finely textured with baked crumble and crusty bread characters, layered on a tight, snappy palate with taut acidity, lovely concentration and a long finish.  Grapes – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

12.5%                    Marlborough                                      £25 from Antipodean Sommelier

Snapper Rock Sauvignon Blanc 2022

It’s fabulously fruited and intensely aromatic on the nose showing passionfruit, feijoa, kaffir lime and floral

characters. The palate delivers excellent vibrancy and punchy flavours, well supported by juicy acidity, making it highly enjoyable.  Works equally well as an aperitif as matched with seafood or chicken dishes.

ABV 13%              Marlborough                                     £11.50 from Antipodean Sommelier

Prophet’s Rock Pinot Gris 2019

Fresh, full pinot gris from one of New Zealand’s great winemakers, Paul Pujol. Striking a wonderful balance of opulence and tension, this has focused acidity and a weighty mid-palate. Fermented using wild yeast and matured on its lees.

ABV 13%              Central Otago                                    £ 21.00 from the Wine Society

Tony Bish “Heartwood” Chardonnay 2021

Aroma with peach, sweet citrus notes, nutty complexity and lifted vanilla they flow onto the palate, which is weighty, rich and pure with defined varietal expression, barrel ferment complexity, and a sustained citrus finish. The French oak and fruit are beautifully balanced.  Will cellar well for at least 5 years.

ABV 14%              Hawkes bay                                        £27 from Antipodean Sommelier

Coal Pit Tiwha Pinot Noir 2019

The Tiwha is the winery’s flagship Pinot Noir.  An exotic and earthy bouquet where dried herbs, dusty leather, and Chinese five-spice abound. Palate of cherries and strawberries follows, while tomato leaf is gracefully intertwined with delicate fine tannin. The bright acid and schist derived minerality complement well with the umami nuances.                                      

ABV 13.5%           Gibbston, Central Otago                               £40 from Antipodean Sommelier

Sam Harrop Grand Amateur 2018 Gentleman Syrah

From the coveted sub region of Gimblett Gravels this tiny production syrah is black cherry and raspberry-scented with spicy white pepper notes. The wine is firm but not harsh and has deliciously fresh acidity and silky tannins. This is sure to age well and should be decanted if possible.

ABV 12%              Hawkes Bay                                        £ 27 from the Wine Society

Obsidian Estate “The Mayor” Reserve 2018

From Waiheke Island.  Appearance- Dark ruby.  Bouquet- Black raspberry, violets, red liquorice.

Palate– The palate is rich and well-structured with beautiful texture and supple ripe tannins. This wine is elegant and refined with a restrained power that will benefit from careful cellaring for many years.

Cellaring- Drink now or suitable for cellaring up to 10 years.

ABV 13%              Waiheke Island, Auckland             £35 from Antipodean Sommelier

The Ned Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Botrytised grapes have been specially selected from amongst the vines of the Waihopai River vineyard to make this wine. The fermentation process takes a lengthy 6 months and extracts huge flavours from the shrivelled berries. Intensely sweet, yet balanced with a mixture of crisp citrus and fresh melon flavours, and as such, never cloys. Lingers long on the palate. An amazing match for gorgonzola or rich pâtés.

ABV 11.50%        Waihopai River, Marlborough     £11.99 per half bottle from Majestic

Each attendee was given two votes for their favourite wines and it was satisfying to note that every wine got at least one vote.