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NewZealandPageNew Zealand is a country of extraordinary diversity. Where else can you find a glacier, tropical rainforest and beach all within a few miles of each other? But the breathtaking landscape isn’t just impressive in its own right: it’s also the perfect location for top-quality wine production. Simon Milroy, Manager of Majestic Wine Mayfair tells us why and also gives us insight to 5 famous New Zealand wineries…

The secret is the cool climate, which suits aromatic varieties to a tee, from Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling to those Burgundian classics, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The more progressive producers are also beginning to play with other varieties like Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer with great results.

It all started in the mid ‘80s when Cloudy Bay burst onto the world scene, throwing the spotlight on previously unknown Kiwi wines and putting the Marlborough region in particular on the map. And New Zealand production has been growing steadily ever since, to the point where it’s now forecast to overtake Spain in commercial sales within two years. Today, a combination of recent bumper harvests and the global downturn mean there are all sorts of great deals to be found. Here are a few of our favourites.

WinerySignCloudyBayCloudy Bay

In 1985, Cape Mentelle established Cloudy Bay’s vineyards in the Wairau Valley, at the northern tip of the South Island, to become one of the first five producers tosettle in Marlborough. This pioneering spirit brought with it the chance to bag the best sites and arrange long-term grower contracts. The subsequent wines were anovernight hit.

Sauvignon Blanc was Cloudy Bay’s breakthrough success story, receiving widespread acclaim for the vibrant, fruity style that’s now Marlborough Sauvignon’s hallmark. Werecently tried the 2009 at a tasting and are happy to report that its clean, lively character and pure expression of citrus fruit are everything that this now iconic wine is all about. Its intensity and fruit will stand up well to spicy food, but it’s also perfect as an apéritif.

Those who prefer a bit more body and weight will find the 2007 Chardonnay just lovely. Made from a handpicked, low-yielding Mendoza clone, it has wonderful concentration of fruit, with a creamy palate and lovely buttery flavour. It’s elegant, not too oaky and lingers long in the mouth. The perfect white for your turkey.

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2009/10, Marlborough
£22.50 or £17.99* when you buy 2 bottles

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2007, Marlborough
£22.50 or £17.99* when you buy 2 bottles

Fairleigh Estate

MarlboroughThese wines are made exclusively for Majestic by a well-known producer (a sneaky look at the rear label tells all). First of all, unlike many Kiwi Rieslings which follow the Germanic, off-dry style, this great-value offering is dry, with a palate dominated by lime and pear, plus some floral hints and a long refreshing finish.

Fairleigh’s Pinot Noir is a vibrant, fruit-driven wine. Its body is light with some warming spice, meaning it can be drunk with or without food. Either way, at this price it’s a great wine for your seasonal gathering.

Fairleigh Estate Riesling 2009, Marlborough
£8.99 £8.74 or £6.99* when you buy 2 bottles

Fairleigh Estate Pinot Noir 2008, Marlborough
£9.99 or £7.99* when you buy 2 bottles

Villa Maria

Villa MariaVilla Maria is one of New Zealand’s oldest and most awarded producers. Indeed, the American magazine Wine Spectator, included Villa Maria in its list of the world’s 50 great producers. Their Cellar Selection range is styled to offer accessible drinking and pair up particularly well with food.

The Chardonnay is great with white meat: soft, creamy and tropical, with some spice and a subtle complexity that comes from time spent on its lees in barrel. The Pinot Noir is medium-bodied with great integration of oak, dominant red fruits, soft, fine-grained tannins and a long finish of considerable finesse.

 

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Chardonnay 2009, Marlborough New!
£9.99 or £7.99* when you buy 2 bottles

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2008, Marlborough
£12.49 or £9.99* when you buy 2 bottles

Craggy Range

Craggy Range was set up in 1997 with the aim of making single-vineyard wines from the best sites and growers, with genuine expression of terroir. Its Te Muna Road Sauvignon Blanc is a rare white coming from Martinborough in the Wairarapa region, usually famed for Pinot Noir. It’s made from grapes grown in limestone soils, makingfor a fresh, minerally wine, packed with stone fruit, lime and grapefruit and showing considerable finesse on the palate. Great value for the quality and superb with heavier fish or poultry dishes.

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Martinborough
£11.99 or £9.59* when you buy 2 bottles

Martinborough Vineyard

This winery was established in 1980 with the express purpose of producing the Burgundian-styled wines to which the Martinborough region’s climate lends itself so perfectly. Its Te Tera Pinot Noir has an elegance and finesse that only the best producers can achieve. The exquisite balance between ripe cherry and plum fruits, fine tannins, integrated oak and refreshing acidity give it a structure that will stand up to red meats such as lamb. Drink now or put away for further development.

Martinborough Vineyard ‘Te Tera’ Pinot Noir 2009, Martinborough
£15.49 or £12.39* when you buy 2 bottles

*Prices are valid from 02 November 2010 to 31 January 2011.

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