There are lots of Sauvignon Blancs, but few count as classics. This is a go-to wine for Kiwi Sauvignon lovers like us. Gooseberries, lime and tropical fruit, it’s a juicy, fruity wine for drinks with friends and a perfect partner for Pacific Rim spiced dishes.
Borthwick Estate lies in the heart of peaceful Wairarapa just northeast of Martinborough. Their philosophy is to leave nature untouched in the vineyard and winery. The 27 hectares of vineyards sit on an old stony river terrace with free draining alluvial soils and a unique micro climate, all surrounded by stunning views. The warm daily temperatures, cool nights and low rainfall provide ideal growing conditions.
Wairarapa – of which Martinborough is a sub-region – is found at the southern tip of the North Island. Unlike some of the better known regions there is a definite emphasis on quality here and small boutique wineries are the norm. Not far from its neighbour on the South Island, Marlborough, the region has a similar climate and topography, but tends to produce more top quality red wines, usually from Pinot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
This is a delicious, easy drinking Pinot Noir from the hands of a master. The delicate, pale red colour opposes the power of the luscious strawberry fruits beneath. It contains a touch of spicy zestiness, too, which we love as a lingering aftertaste!
Central Otago is the world’s most southerly wine region and makes these firm, savoury, dark-fruit scented Pinot Noirs. Lovers of a fuller style are quickly hooked and it’s no surprise this award-winning producer is a regular favourite as it’s one of the best value in Central Otago. Try it with lamb. New Zealand or British both match it perfectly.
On The Wine Show, we love the ‘second’ wines of great producers. The same guys, making more accessible wines but with the same love, care and attention. This has the herbal, spiced character as the estate’s world-famous top cuvée, but is more affordable. I last had this with a venison sausage and it was fantastic.
This is some of the best value fine Pinot Noir in the world. It has the dark fruit and plum fruit of North Island’s Martinborough. The grander wines from here have bigger, firmer tannins, but this is beautifully ready to enjoy now with pork and veal, but is probably best with richly flavoured vegetarian dishes.
Along New Zealand’s long, thin islands Pinot Noir reflects local conditions. In Marlborough, Nautilus brings out the fine, supple texture that frames a plum and cherry fruit. It’s concentrated and savoury. The structure is light enough for salmon, but best with quail, duck or turkey, especially with a savoury sauce.
A classic in the Marlborough mould, a wine with clear, intense cherry and raspberry fruit and a brightly refreshing, pert character that’s typical of the area. Although the flavours are dark the wine has a bright lift to it. Light enough for tuna and herby roasted chicken, it’s a safe bet on restaurant wine lists too.
Ata Rangi embodies the pioneering spirit of Kiwi Pinot Noir. It is succulent and rich with squished red fruit melding seamlessly with a cedarwood oak spice. Partly this comes from being one of the first estates to plant Pinot Noir in the 1980s, but there’s a buccaneering spirit too. Search Ata Rangi gumboot clone on the internet for one of the great stories of wine.