New Zealand may not make it to any listing of the top wine producing nations in the world. The winery industry in New Zealand is still in an evolutionary stage, and surely has a long way to go. Despite being a late entrant in the winemaking industry, New Zealand has come up with some topnotch and award-winning cabernet sauvignons, pinot noirs, merlots, chardonnays, and Rieslings.
New Zealand found its place on the global winery map, thanks to the homebred Sauvignon Blanc. Presently, the country has over 500 boutique and small-scale vintners and winemakers that produce top-class wines in low quantities. Wines brewed by numerous wineries in New Zealand are nowadays exported to the US and many countries in Europe.
Here’s the lowdown on the top ten wine brands of New Zealand that are creating waves throughout the world.
A topnotch Cabernet, the Stonyridge Vineyard Larose is distilled using premium grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Stonyridge Vineyard came into being with the exclusive objective of producing a superlative red wine that’d compete with Bordeaux red wines. The red wine takes its name from Larose, an intensely aromatic, beautiful, and colorful variety of rose.
The vintner chose the site for the vineyard with meticulous care to brew Bordeaux-styled wines. The vineyard remains sheltered from the chilly southwestern winds that blow during the winter, thanks to the north-facing mountain slopes. The north-facing slopes together with the state-of-the-art- viticulture practices, enable the grapes to become ripe and succulent in a short time.
The Bell Hill vineyard, founded in the year 1997, produces a range of classic wines, including Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. The bell-shaped southern side of the vineyard lends its name to the exclusive Chardonnay. The 2004 edition of the Bell Hill Chardonnay has a very transparent consistency that perfectly mirrors the soil’s flinty mineral texture.
The vinery believes that the 2004 version tends to be a significant improvement on the vintages of 2002 and 2003. The characteristic flavor and taste of Bell Hill Chardonnay perfectly represent the climate, topography, and soil of the region.
A classic Sauvignon, the Astrolabe Kekerengu Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2017 has a lingering floral aroma with hints of lime and grapefruit. The Astrolabe winery, situated in Kekerengu Coast in Marlborough uses the best quality of Sauvignon grapes for producing this wine. Aging in Cuvee sees oak barrels, imparts to the sauvignon a creamy texture.
You’ll be able to distinguish the notes of mint and tropical fruits as you start taking sips. Pair the Astrolabe’s Sauvignon Blanc 2017 with goat cheese, shellfish, and salad for getting the most out of it.
Another premium Sauvignon, the Destiny Bay’s Magna Praemia is obtained by macerating Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot grape musts. Maturing in 50% American and 50% French oak barrels for 12-15 months gives the Sauvignon perfect character and balance. The vintner ages the produce for a minimum of 2-3 years to make sure that the connoisseurs enjoy every sip.
Destiny Bay ensures to produce limited cases of Magna Praemia from one year to the other. So, you can take it for granted that every bottle of Magna Praemia bottle you buy adds to your vintage collection.
The king of ports, Vintage Port is only made in exceptional years from the ripest and best grapes. Port takes on a luscious, velvety richness and develops toffee, nut and coffee flavors of an aged tawny, but with riper, more pronounced fruit elements.
Vintage Ports at Mazuran’s, a winery located in Henderson in the Eastern suburbs of Auckland, New Zealand, are available in many old vintages through to the 1940s with a complex and rich, almost assuming a liqueur-like quality. The port has a velvety richness and lusciousness combined with understated notes of coffee, nuts, and toffees.
Delta Vineyard’s Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 exudes a bevy of fragrances reminiscent of thyme, herbs, spices, oaks, and forest berries. The Pinot Noir’s palate demonstrates refreshing fruity flavors with a judicious of soothing tannins. The history of the Delta Wine Company goes back to the millennial year (2000) when Matt Thomson, David Gleave, and Neal Ibbotson teamed up to establish the firm.
The Marlborough Pinot Noir has a crimson red color with delicate whiffs of spicy plums, violets, and cherries. The wine has an understated silky palate with a heavy mineral and grainy finish.
The Saint Clair Family Estate founded by viticulture pioneers, Judy, and Neal Ibbotson, initially supplied the grapes to local vintners. Eventually, the couple established their winery in 1994 to produce premium quality wines. The wines produced by Saint Clair stand for elegance, class, and quality.
The chardonnays, noble Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noirs, and Pinot Gris of Saint Clair have won several international awards. One of the most sought-after wines in New Zealand, the Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2018 has a characteristic pale straw color. The aromas are a fine medley of passionfruit and blackcurrant bud with traces of oyster shell and green nettle.
The palate underscores strong notes of juicy grapefruit, passionfruit, and white peach.
Felton Road’s Bannockburn Riesling 2017 has a typical off-dry flavor with a palate redolent of tropical flowers, and succulent stone fruit. The strong juicy acidity finely balances the rich flavor profile of the Bannockburn Riesling 2017. The grapes used for brewing the Riesling come from Central Otago’s ‘Calvert & The Elms’ vineyards.
Whole bunches of grapes undergo bunch pressing and the juice fermented with home-grown yeasts.
The grapes used for producing Chard Farm Sur Lie Pinot Gris 2017 thrive in the Parkburn vineyards in Cromwell region. Small lots of hand-harvested grapes undergo fermentation in stainless steel cisterns that help to hold onto the fruit’s freshness and purity. The flavors of this Pinot Gris remind you of pears and figs with subtle notes of spice and nuts.
The ideal location of the Providence Wines’ vineyard (straddling the Pacific Ocean on the east and Rodney Ranges on the west) helps produce top quality wine. Bunches of Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot grapes go through extensive maceration.
After that the juice is transferred to 100% new and pure French oak barrels where the distillate sits for two years. This Merlot has a robust body with a fruity character and sophisticated tannins.