New Zealand White Wines
Offering wonderfully pure flavours, New Zealand white wines have garnered well-deserved reputations for superior quality and are well worth exploring.
In 1960, there were less than 400 hectares devoted to vines in New Zealand. This was despite the fact that the country had been producing wine for more than a century. But New Zealand wine's profile and production have risen dramatically in recent decades.
The huge distance from the north of the country to the southernmost point and the diversity of the terrain have combined to give New Zealand a huge range of growing conditions. The result has been impressive variety and unique wines which are now much-admired.
Most of the vineyards in the country are influenced by the cooling effect of the ocean which preserves the acidity in the wines. This gives you the brightness and vibrancy that keeps you coming back for more.
New Zealand grape Varieties
As with wines of any region, grape variety is an important factor in making your choice and you certainly won't find yourself short of impressive options here.
This grape makes up an incredible 72% of wine production in New Zealand. The country's wines have imbued Sauvignon Blanc with a new twist and it's one that the rest of the world is keen to copy. These wines deliver freshness, acidity and exotic fruity notes to savour. The aromatic sauvignons of the South Island are particularly noteworthy. Don't miss the delicate wines of the Marlborough region's Awatere Valley.
The chardonnays of New Zealand are distinguished by full-bodied fruit flavours which are both zesty and satisfying. Oak is used to lend complexity to many of the wines and this sets them apart. Seek out Hawkes Bay Chardonnays for powerful flavours, wines from Auckland for elegance and from Marlborough for crispness. The cooling effect of the ocean prevents the fruit flavours in New Zealand's Chardonnays from becoming too rich and tropical. Even in the fuller-bodied wines influenced by oak, the moreish acidity stands out.
Riesling, pinot gris and gewurztraminer
The cool climate provides great potential for aromatic varieties. While wines from younger vineyards rely a little too much on sugar rather than fruit but the best varietals do rival Alsace wines for intensity and flavour. New Zealand's pinots don't have the weight that you would associate with warmer climates, but they don't possess the earthy mushroom notes of Burgundy either. Most NZ Pinots have highlights of black cherry or strawberry flavours, often boosted by violet and cloves.
New Zealand wine regions
When choosing wines, it helps to understand the individual region from which it comes as the combination of soil, climate, altitude and terrain imbue each wine with its unique qualities. We are delighted to showcase white wines from many of New Zealand's premier wine regions.
Cool and yet sunny with freely draining terrain and fertile soil, this region produces uniquely bright and vivid whites. It was Marlborough which first put New Zealand on the international wine map with its exquisite Sauvignon Blanc back in the 1980s. You can now also enjoy intense chardonnays and aromatic wines from Marlborough and many exciting sub regions are rapidly developing.
New Zealand's second largest wine region, Hawkes Bay has been producing wines since 1851. Grapes were first planted there by missionaries and the region is now notable for its much-celebrated chardonnays and aromatic white wines. The warm climate and long growing season also deliver incredible dessert wines.
Spectacular and boasting diverse terrain, the Central Otago region produces fine chardonnays, excellent aromatics and impressive Sauvignon Blanc. Full-flavoured and wonderfully pure, the best wines of this scenic region are in high demand across the globe.
Lush landscapes and consistent sunshine help wineries in Gisborne to deliver exciting wines with Chardonnays dominating. Pinot Gris is the Gisborne region's second most prevalent variety. Both large producers and boutique wineries are giving us highly-regarded whites which are wonderfully full-flavoured and fruity.
Wairarapa (meaning glistening waters in Maori) is a small yet diverse wine region to the south of the North Island. Boutique producers create a range of wines boasting outstanding quality. You will discover Sauvignon Blanc, aromatics, Chardonnay and dessert wines of distinction. Planting began in the 1970s and the sub region of Martinborough is home to some of the nations most respected wineries. Expect beautifully balanced chardonnays that keep you coming back for more.