New Zealand Wines
There are ten main wine growing regions in New Zealand with each showing great diversity in climate and terrain. No region is more than 130km (80 miles) from the sea and the proximity of vineyards to the ocean has a pronounced effect on the character of New Zealand wines. Mild, sunny summers and marked differences between day and night temperatures in many regions slow the ripening of the grapes and allow them to develop pure, intense varietal flavours. This is the foundation of New Zealand wines’ elegance and power, and helps explain their famed balance, structure and food friendliness. And with growing regions extending 1,600 km (1,000 miles) — from latitude 36° South in the subtropical north to latitude 46° South in the mountainous south (the most southerly vineyards in the world) — regional diversity is dramatic, enabling a striking array of wine varieties and styles to flourish.
The purity of flavour you encounter in New Zealand wine owes much to the industry’s focus on protecting the environment in which the fruit is grown. Four varieties (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay) account for over 90% of production, but New Zealand also excels in the production of an increasing range of popular styles and varieties – with Riesling, Syrah, and Bordeaux Blends leading the way, and everything from Albariño to Zinfandel also being explored across New Zealand’s diverse wine regions. The production of sparkling wines from New Zealand is small but critically renowned. High quality Méthode Traditionelle wines display nutty, biscuity aromas that are often balanced with fresh acidity and fruit undertones, delivering complex and elegant wines. In addition, New Zealand produces Rosé which exhibits fresh red berry aromas with gentle acidity and a luscious creamy texture on the palate. Made with Merlot and Cabernets in the north, and Pinot Noir in the south, the varietal character shines through in these wines.