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Sauvignon Blanc still the pride of New Zealand

Kiwi wine has come a long way since the early days of Sauvignon Blanc. It has now become a serious player in the wine world. But New Zealand’s wine industry is just 23% the size of Australia’s. In fact, it only just made the world’s top 30 wine producing companies for quantity. But New Zealand wine certainly races ahead in terms of quality. It boasts some of the cleanest and most advanced wineries in the world. New Zealand has grown a reputation over the last twenty years for producing world-class Sauvignon Blanc, rivalling the best from the Old World. And its popularity hasn’t wavered. Today New Zealand devotes over half of its wine production to Sauvignon Blanc.

But there is much more to New Zealand wine. For white wine, Chardonnay and Riesling lead the way. And in terms of red, there are a number of red grapes producing exceptional wines.

The birth of the classic Sauvignon Blanc

The 1970s saw the first Sauvignon Blanc planted in New Zealand. It originated in Auckland, with cuttings planted in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley. As Sauvignon Blanc thrived in the climate and soil, production here quickly took off. It even rivalled the highly-regarded French Sauvignon Blanc, such as Sancerre, in terms of quality. New Zealand became so famous for Sauvignon Blanc by 1990, that it was made the country’s leading wine. Unlike Old World Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has more of a citrus edge, rather than the gooseberry and green pepper flavours found in a classic Sancerre. 

Other whites to try

New Zealand produces other fantastic white varieties too. New Zealand Chardonnay provides crisp and clean unoaked Chablis-style varieties, amongst buttery and rich oaky wines. And with the triumph of Riesling in Australia, it’s become a commonly planted grape in New Zealand. Instead of the sweeter style of Germany’s Rieslings, New Zealand’s version is mouthwateringly dry and aromatic.

Delicious reds

New Zealand now produces some first-class red wines too. The most common planted red is Pinot Noir. The slightly cooler regions tend to be home to the most prestigious grapes. Martinborough on the North Island boasts rich cherry-flavoured, full bodied Pinots. Meanwhile, Central Otago on the South Island offers slightly more powerful and elegant varieties. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot produce some delicious intense reds, predominantly in the warmer, northern regions like Hawkes Bay.

Food pairing

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc tastes extremely good served with seafood and fresh fish. It also works well with dishes that have oily or citrus-based dressings. Chardonnay also pairs nicely with fish, along with creamy based dishes and poultry. Riesling can be matched with spicier dishes. Or even slightly sweeter dishes like salads, fruit and cheeses create a good match. The strong flavours and tannin of Cabernet Sauvignon goes perfectly with something like duck or lamb. While Merlot, with its slightly softer construction, pairs wonderfully with savoury dishes and lean meats. Pinot Noir also matches superbly with lean meats, fish and cheese.

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Five Fizzing Prosecco cocktails to try this Spring

Everyone likes a nice cold glass of prosecco when the weather starts to get warmer, but you can make it even more special by transforming it into a cocktail. There are lots of great recipes that are perfect for parties and other summer events, so if you are going to be entertaining guests this summer, these five prosecco cocktails are something that you have to try.

Rose-ecco

This is visually enticing for those who it is served to as well as tasty, and was introduced by Sophie Dahl. First, fill your glass almost to the top with prosecco, and then add a spoon full of rose syrup. This will sink to the bottom, causing a striped effect, which looks great when served.

Bakewell Fizz

Soak a cherry in Kirsch and place it at the bottom of your flute. Add a further tablespoon of kirsch and then fill the remainder of the glass with ¾ prosecco and ¼ Disaronno. This gives you a really tasty flavour – and if you enjoyed eating cherry brandy ice lollies when you were younger, this will be a pleasing blast from the past, with a kick.

Raspberry Prosecco Bellini

For a fruity, spring treat, fill 1/5 of your glass with raspberry liqueur and place a sprig of fresh basil on the top. Fill the rest of the glass with prosecco and then your cocktail is ready to serve.

Prosecco pomander

Squeeze the juice from a sweet clementine, and put it in your glass. Then fill the rest of the glass with ¼ Cointreau and ¾ prosecco. This will give you a real sweet treat, perfect for anyone who has a sweet tooth. For added enjoyment, you can place a garnish on the top of rosemary and a slice of clementine.

Prosecco French

This is great for the warmer weather, as it can really cool you down. Get a cocktail shaker, and fill 1/3 with lemon juice, 1/3 with elderflower cordial and 1/3 with gin. Add ice and shake well. Pour your concoction into a glass, add some prosecco and then serve with a lemon slice and mint leaf. Definitely a refreshing choice!

No matter which of the above recipes you choose to go for, you can be sure that your guests will love them. It is certainly a great way to kick start spring and enjoy the weather and the outdoors as it gets a little warmer.