New Zealand is well-known for producing fresh vibrant Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines; both cool climate grapes. But with global warming warmer climate grapes like Chardonnay, Merlot, and Syrah are also successfully grown and produce quality wines in New Zealand. Recently I attended a New Zealand trade tasting, and many of my favourite wines were Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, but other grapes, liked Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah also show up on my favourite list. The North Island of New Zealand is a warmer climate and this is where you find most of the warmer climate grapes. Hawke’s Bay is becoming well-known for Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
As you may be aware the BC VQA white wines were recently released for the 2018 vintage. As you check the wines below, you will see 2017 white vintages. New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere so they are always ahead of our vintage by 6 months. So it is interesting to see these slightly older white wines now being released by New Zealand wineries. Many people are scared of storing their aromatic white wines for more than a year and many wineries suggest drinking their whites while they are still young and fresh. But as you will see, these older whites show up in my list below. Don’t fear storing and letting your white wines get a little bottle age. The wines can become less acidic, more round, and other flavours may become more evident.
Below are my favourite wines, and along with it, you can see the region where the grapes are grown. Most of these wines are available in BC, either at a government liquor store or at a private wine shop. Only one wine is not yet available in BC and needs an agent to pick it up. Enjoy!
My Favourite White Wines
Babich Wines Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, 2018 ($17.95++) – Very nice ripe peach, citrus and grapefruit nose. Dry, medium body and acidity. Nice fresh stone fruit flavours along with some citrus.
Loveblock Vintners Sauvignon Blanc Awatere Valley, Marlborough, 2018 ($26.99++) – Light green leaf and jalapeno nose. The wine is dry, medium-bodied, with medium-plus acidity. Green beans and jalapeno pepper on the palate. Tasty.
Luna Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough, Wairarapa, 2018 (not yet in BC) – Light ripe apple and peach nose. Dry with a lighter body. Soft mouthfeel. Crisp apple flavour.
Toi Toi Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2018 ($18.95++) – Very aromatic, showing green fruit, peach and honey aromas. Fuller body, dry, with medium acidity and thicker rounder mouthfeel. Green fruit and citrus rind flavours, and a hint of jalapeno pepper. Nice.
Whitehaven Greg Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Awatere Valley, Marlborough, 2018 ($23.95++) – Very light jalapeno pepper on the nose that continues to the palate. On the palate, you also get a green bean flavour. The wine is dry, medium body and acidity. A quality wine.
Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc, Martinborough, Wellington, 2018 ($26.99++) – Light gooseberry, jalapeno pepper and peach aromas in the glass. Dry, medium body with quite a salty mineral streak. Asparagus on the palate to start with jalapeno added toward the finish.
Craggy Range Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay, 2017 ($29.99++) – Tasty nose with a hint of apple. Medium body, round and soft, with light acidity. Light apple, toast and oak flavours. A soft-spoken Chardonnay.
Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, 2017 ($29.99++) – Very light peach aroma. Medium-plus body and acidity. A blend of green fruit and peach flavours.
Kim Crawford Chardonnay 2017 ($19.99++) – A blend of butterscotch, flowers and tropical fruit aromas. Medium-plus body, dryish, with light acidity. Buttery mouthfeel. Light ripe tropical fruit flavours and maybe some flintiness.
My Favourite Red Wines
Craggy Range Pinot Noir Martinborough, Wellington, 2016 ($48++) – Floral violet, smokey and sweet fruit nose. The wine is off-dry, medium-plus body and lower acidity. Fine tannins. A mix of floral, ripe red and black fruit flavours. Peppery.
Craggy Range ‘Sophia’ Merlot Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay, 2016 ($80++) – Cedar, capsicum and ripe cassis aromas mingle. This wine is dry with medium body and lighter mouthfeel. Cedar, capsicum, ripe cassis and sweet spices on the palate. Balanced. Very good quality.
Craggy Range Le Sol Syrah, Hawke’s Bay, 2015 ($110++) – Nice floral, toast, cedar and cassis nose. Fuller body, dry with a silky mouthfeel. Fine, soft tannins. Ripe cassis and red apple flavours. Mineral touch too. A seductive wine.
Whitehaven Marlborough Pinot Noir, 2015 ($24.49++) – A mix of dill weed, red fruit, red cherries and sweet red spices on the nose. Dry, medium-plus body, with a round mouthfeel. Fine tannins. Ripe cassis flavour and peppery on the palate.
Babich Wines The Patriarch Cabernet Sauvignon Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay, 2015 ($99.99++) – Lots of ripe cassis on the nose, along with lesser amounts of capsicum, cedar, oak, and vanilla aromas. The wine is medium-plus body, dry with medium intensity fine tannins. Red fruit, cassis and ripe black cherry fruit flavours along with cedar and vanilla notes. Peppery finish. A very New World style red wine. Quality.
Greywacke Pinot Noir, Marlborough, 2015 ($49.95++) – Medium intensity ripe red fruit nose. Medium body, round with medium acidity and fine tannins. Ripe red fruit, cassis and cherries on the palate, along with some pepperiness. A quality wine. –
You may notice that Craggy Range wines show up the most in my list. They truly knocked me out with their wines.