The land most Americans came to know via The Lord of the Rings is home to some great wines as well as spectacular scenery. Sauvignon Blanc is grown in most New Zealand wine regions, but is especially notable in Marlborough, where it makes wines that set the New World standard for that variety. Other grape varieties commonly grown in New Zealand include Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Merlot.
Simply put, this is an outstanding example of New World Chardonnay, marrying bold tropical fruit aromas and flavors with Burgundian production techniques. Guava and mango notes are lush an dappealing, framed by just enough structure and hints of dried spices and toasty oak for complexity and balance. Long and crisp on the finish. Now-2013.
Representing a new level of quality for Waiheke Syrah, this wine boasts captivating aromas of peppered meat, violets and cassis. It’s full bodied without being heavy, and the flavors seamlessly blend fruity with savory for a thrilling ride. Finishes long, with firm tannins and a hint of espresso. Drink now¬–2018.
Since its debut in 2003, this has been one of New Zealand’s top Pinot Noirs, combining power, structure and complexity. Smoky and richly peppery at first, it turns more floral with aeration, and while it’s big in the mouth, it’s also silky in texture. The black cherry, plum, vanilla and spice flavors fan out on the long, layered finish. Drink now–2015.
This New Zealand wine was 25% barrel fermented, which gives added complexity to already intense herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc fruit tending toward gooseberries and lime. The finish is long and layered with echoes of opening fruit.
A small bird, not Chuck Connors, gives this wine its name. A huge, intensely toasted Chardonnay with lemon, green-apple, butterscotch and custard aromas and flavors. Rich, oaky and weighty, it has very good structure and balance, and should age nicely over a few more years.
All Sauvignon Blanc, and it shows in aromas of gooseberries, passion fruit and chili peppers. This intensely sweet and honeyed wine also blends in an array of apricot-botrytis flavors. This is a wine that tastes great now and should also age gracefully.
Smokier and toastier than Kumeu’s regular Chardonnay, the fruit is also dialed up, with ripe pears, peaches and even orange blossoms. The long, citrusy finish leaves you searching for another pour. Should be long-lived as well.
This 100% Merlot is packed with black cherries, lusciously ripe and silky in the mouth. Black-tea notes on the finish hint at the complexities to be gained with bottle age. Try after 2003.