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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Great NZ Whites



A roundup of exceptional NZ white wines

White wine is what we do best. Sure – pinot noir, syrah and other reds have their intermittent good years. But the overwhelming bulk of our acclaimed exports, year after year are white wines – pretty well hugely dominated by sauvignon blanc which represents about 75% of our grape plantings.

Having said that, given our cool climate, other more obscure white grapes deserve a mention. I have long been a fan of our (formerly unfashionable) chardonnay grape variety. We also do fantastic pinot gris, viognier, riesling, gewürztraminer and others.

Here is a selection of recent samples.

Ngatarawa Stables Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2014 $NZ 15.00
Pinot gris has become a hugely popular wine in NZ as a mid-range option on the scale from dry, crisp and citrusy sauvignon blancs - to oaky rounded soft buttery chardonnays. This one smells like citrus fruit and nectarine. In the mouth it has a full and generous palate, with ripe nectarine and stone fruit flavours. Yet it has a dry and crisp finish.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Gewürztraminer 2013 $NZ 29.50
A lovely complex style of gewürz. Barrel aged for a while and including some botrytised (i.e. late picked and sweet) grape juice. Aromas of jasmine and spice, it opens out in the mouth with guava, quince and an off-dry finish.
 
Coopers Creek Hawkes Bay Limeworks Chardonnay 2014 $NZ 22.00
Aromas of toasty brioche, vanilla, toffee apple and some florals. Showing nice characters for such a young chardonnay, with soft acid, Baba Rhum, creamy yeast and vanilla. Mouth filling with a dry lengthy finish.

Peacock Sky Chardonnay Waiheke 2014 $39.00
Smells like marzipan, vanilla, and citrus. In the mouth - flavours of peach, apricot, mandarin, toast and toffee apple and a lovely lengthy palate.  This one’s a keeper. Hide it for 3-4 years.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 2013 $NZ 38.90
Aromas of grapefruit and spicy oak. Creamy and complex flavours of nectarine and mandarin with little a hint of clover honey.

Ransom Rousanne 2014 $NZ 26.00
Rousanne is a quite obscure French grape from the southern Rhône.
Yet, North Auckland’s boutique Ransom Vineyard produces a tiny amount.
Smells very complex - with toffee apple, funky spicy yeast and citrus lemon. Once swished around the mouth - complex and lush, mouth filling. Chardonnay-like, with crisp finish and lengthy palate.

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