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wpe3.jpg (1244 bytes)New Zealand Wine Tasting Notes

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2001 Travel Envoy

Wine in New Zealand

New Zealand has enjoyed a
long history of wine making
but it has only been since 
the 1980's that they have
received critical acclaim.  
The two islands long and
narrow contour provide a
maritime climate where no
location is more than 75
miles from the ocean.
Sunlight warmed by day and
cooled by night sea breezes
New Zealand's vineyards are
blessed with ideal growing
conditions which are reflected
in wines  full of fruit and
varietal flavors.

Harvest in New Zealand typically is from March through the end of April depending on the varietal (Muller Thurgau being first to ripen and Cabernet Sauvignon the last).  Harvest is also determined by the location of the vineyard, with the northern vineyards ripening slightly ahead of their southern neighbors.
New Zealand has the distinction of having both the most easterly vineyards ( being closest to the International Date Line) in the
Gisborne region, and the most southern vineyards in the world, located  in the Otago region.
In recent years New Zealand wines have consistently won awards at international competitions, with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet/Merlot leading the way.
Varietal Characteristics are affected by the subtle climatic changes from north to south.  In the northern
Auckland area Chardonnay's are softer with aromas of fig, while Gisborne tends to lend tropical flavors and aromas of papaya and melon. Hawkes Bay produces a wine with aroma and flavor similar to ripe grapefruit.  Sauvignon Blanc has become the wine that New Zealand is known for, especially those from the Marlborough region, with flavors of gooseberry and slightly smoky with the tangy flavors of passion fruit and papaya and a hint of herbs.   Another white that does well in New Zealand is Riesling.  It success has been mainly in the cooler South Island where they produce wines of full fruit and fragrant flower with touches of apricots, peaches, limes and apples. Merlot   though typically used as a blending wine with Cabernet Sauvignon has in recent years come into its own. With raspberry flavors, softness and a pretty fragrance and chocolate texture it is increasing in popularity.  Cabernet Sauvignon, mostly grown in the North Island areas of Hawkes Bay and around Auckland, features flavors and aromas of blackberries, currants and plum with hints of vanilla oak. Pinot Noir is mainly grown in the South Island however the Martinborough region of the North Island seems to have the ideal growing conditions for this difficult to grow grape. With hints of mushroom and flavors of black cherries and raspberries this varietal is widely used for sparkling wines.

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