New zeal for New Zealand
Increasing recognition for New Zealand as a producer of world class wines is creating a growing Irish fan base, writes Gillian Hamill.
15 September 2010
New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc is rated throughout the world as the definitive benchmark style for this varietal, and growing recognition is helping to further cement New Zeland’s position as a producer of world class wines made in a sustainable and environmental manner. In general New Zealand red wine tends to be forward and early maturing, fruit-driven and with restrained oak.
In white wines, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc predominate in plantings and production. Other white varietals commonly include Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris, and less commonly Chenin Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Müller-Thurgau and Viognier. The market success of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and lately Pinot Noir mean that these varietals will dominate future planting.
An industry pioneer
In the early 1970s the conventional wisdom in the New Zealand wine industry was that wine grapes would not ripen in the South Island. Montana Wines disregarded that ‘wisdom’ and planted vines in Marlborough on a grand scale. Included in the first plantings was the very little known variety Sauvignon Blanc.
When Montana took the brave steps of planting the first Sauvignon Blanc vines in Marlborough in 1975, little did it know the company would grow to become New Zealand’s largest producer and exporter of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wine. It’s been 30 years since the group pioneered Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and introduced the world to a flavour it had never experienced before.
That one decision ultimately proved to be one of the most momentous decisions ever taken in the New Zealand wine industry. It brought together a place and a variety that combined to produce one of the great global wine styles – Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. It was a decision that forever changed New Zealand wines’ place in the world.
Of course, things have moved on a lot since then but the passion for winemaking and the love of ingenuity has never really changed. Most recently the wine that pioneered New Zealand’s success on the international market, Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, was awarded yet another gold medal at the prestigious International Wine Challenge in London. The award-winning 2009 vintage of this wine comes 30 years after Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc first gained world prominence from plantings at Brancott Estate.
Today the quest for innovation still remains. The new brand name of Brancott Estate which will hit shelves January 2011 is an example of this innovation.
Elegance in a glass
Wither Hills has always been regarded as one of the best New Zealand wineries in the world and it is no exception that Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc is one of the best from the area.
Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2008 has won a gold medal – Best in Class 2009 at the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC). Judges said that this wine was “elegance in a glass”.
Wither Hills is proudly sold in the finest establishments such as The Four Seasons, Dublin, The Merrion Hotel, Dublin as well as Jus de Vine, The Vintry and Molloys.
Please contact Comans Wholesale for more information.
On the right tracks
Two Tracks is a fresh new approach to Marlborough, New Zealand wine, providing easy drinking, high quality wines from a region consumers have come to love.
Part of the Wither Hills family of wines, Two Tracks provides Marlborough wine adorers a chance to enjoy quality wine from a recognised and awarded producer, at an affordable price.
Two Tracks surpasses its price point at just €9.99 per bottle. This is a wine with integrity, elegance and finesse.
There are few wines that offer such quality with such value. Contact Comans Wholesale for more information.
Villa Maria is New Zealand’s most awarded wine brand.
A family owned New Zealand winery founded in 1961 by its current owner and managing director, George Fistonich, Villa Maria is 100% New Zealand owned. Villa Maria has been New Zealand’s leading wine award winner, both nationally and internationally since the early 1980s.
Villa Maria’s talented people have an unrelenting passion to produce quality wines. Realising that it takes more than just good winemaking to produce quality, a passion to succeed begins in the vineyard. Astute site selection by Villa Maria’s vineyard experts is followed by superior vineyard management and then complemented by expert winemaking. A strong focus on continually improving the vineyards is considered by Villa Maria to be an incredibly important factor in quality winemaking.
Distributed in Ireland by Barry & Fitzwilliam Ltd, the Villa Maria Private Bin Range is widely available at €12.99.