After my last blog I received a request for an article (!), this time on New Zealand wines, as the issue has not been raised to date.
To prepare for the article we have had to undertake some ‘extensive’ research, which frankly hasn’t been that much of a hardship, but I have to confess to some bias in our research. Neither Sally nor I really drink white wine which is actually a bit unfortunate as we have spent the last two weeks in the Marlborough area, home to arguably the best Sauvignon Blanc wines in the world but which is pretty disappointing in terms of its red wines. What reds there are tend to be Pinot Noirs, which to our taste are merely white wines with blusher, although having said that we did try a wonderful Pinot from a small vineyard in Waiheke which certainly passed muster. As you can tell this is a pretty ignorant wine review!
So dominant is Sav Blanc in the New Zealand wine oeuvre – 85% of all wine exported is Sauvignon Blanc, 90% of which comes from Marlborough – it is difficult in the UK to find other styles of good value New Zealand wines, especially reds. Fortunately for us though we are in New Zealand and not in the UK, so have been able to do something practical to address this deficit on behalf of all of you!
To cut to the chase – we like Hawke’s Bay wines and in particular their Syrah for which the region is particularly suited given its long hours of sunshine and gravely soils which reflect the sun’s rays back onto the fruit. The wines are full bodied with a peppery taste. The Hawke’s Bay area though produces a vast array of different wines to suit all tastes.
Unlike the Marlborough region where a lot of the growers are producing grapes as part of a collective, the vineyards in the Hawkes Bay area are largely independent and the volumes produced under a particular label are therefore a lot smaller. Despite being New Zealand’s second largest wine producing area (and the oldest with the first wines being produced in 1851 compared to the Marlborough region which interestingly didn’t really produce much of anything before the 1990s) very little of it finds its way into the UK’s main distribution channels We have though had some success in the past finding New Zealand reds in places like Majestic Wine Warehouse (other quality distribution outlets are also available!). Most of the time however you will only find these wines on the wine lists of posh restaurants and priced somewhat further up the price chain from the house wine I fear!
Our wine adventures (which let me assure you are conducted by bike to allow for any accidental over consumption en route) are not yet complete and in particular we are open to becoming lovers of wines from the Central Otago area on South Island – but we won’t get there for another few weeks.
Well that’s about it on wines – I told you this was a pretty ignorant review – but here are a few more travel pictures thrown in for good measure as I know some of you appreciate images rather than words.
Thanks for your comments on previous blogs by the way! I have had to upgrade the security on the site as we were starting to attract some rather more ‘exotic’ followers but I hope that won’t affect your access.