I recently had the pleasure of attending a Master Wine Class and Trade Show on New Zealand wines. Wow! Did you know that New Zealand is now exporting 1 million bottles of wine to the Canadian market? They started with 27,000 bottles and this year hit 1 Million! Another Wow. There were some excellent wines that day and I would like to share a few with you.
At the Master wine class there were 4 very informative winemakers from New Zealand, including the Cheers from our friend Kyle Thompson, from the Saint Clair Family Estate Vineyard. Let’s start with a Sparkling.
I swear my friend Rayell is going to have me loving Sparkling wine. I wasn’t always a fan, and lately I have been trying sparkling wines that I really like, including this one. This is the Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Brut NV.. it comes in at around the $25 mark and is a great aperitif wine. Beautiful citrus blossom flavors and a nice finish. Bring out the appetizers and this wine, and you’ll be a star.
Another great white wine from that day was the Wither Hills Pinot Gris. This wine is from the Marlborough region, and the region is known for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. But they make also make one of the nicest Pinot Gris wines I have had in a while. Pinot Gris is a white wine, and the word ‘gris’ means grey. It’s a clone of Pinot Noir and the grapes have a blue-grey hue, and that is where it gets its name. The clone of Pinot Gris grown in Italy is Pinot Grigio. So they are related, but not the same. This beauty was an off-dry style and had gorgeous pear and honeysuckle flavors. It had great acidity and the time spent in French oak barriques gave it a great texture.
You can’t visit New Zealand without talking Sauvignon Blanc. The Ara Single Estate Sauvignon Blanc we had was crisp and fresh and had gorgeous grapefruit flavors and a great finish. I found this particular wine to be extremely vibrant on the palate.
Another Pinot Noir I had that day that I really enjoyed was the Pegasus Bay 2012 Pinot Noir. From the Waipara Valley region, this had a beautiful strawberry nose and intense fruit flavors on the palate. Beautiful character in this wine and Pinot Noir is such a food friendly wine, it goes with practically everything.
And last but not least, a very pleasant surprise. When a person thinks of Syrah, New Zealand may not be the first place that comes to mind. This Elephant Hill 2013 Syrah was a real bright spot for me. It was elegant, bright and supple. Lots of spice along with the fruit and black pepper was very evident for me. I had never tried a wine from Elephant Hill before and I loved it. Treat yourself to this wine the next time you have a BBQ, I think you will love it as much as I do.
Discover something new this weekend in your glass and visit the New Zealand section of your favorite wine store.
Till next week, Cheers