Our Wine Varietals
There's far more to discover beyond our world-famous Sauvignon Blanc. Cooler climate varieties, such as Pinot Noir and Riesling thrive in our southern regions, while Cabernet blends and Syrah flourish in the warmer North. Whatever your preferences, we’ll have a wine to suit your palate.
Traditional, old world winemaking techniques combined with New Zealand’s cool climate and plentiful sunshine produce exceptional, high quality sparkling wine known as Methode Traditionellé. This type of wine is made the same way as in Champagne, France where the wine goes through a secondary fermentation process in the bottle to produce its delicate bubbles.
Our Methode Traditionellé wines are renowned for their depth, finesse and mouth-filling palates. Complexity, freshness and elegance round off a smooth and supple mousse (a fancy word for the tiny bubbles). With fruit flavors of white pear, apples and citrus, these are our favorite bottles of fizz!
But these wines are more than just celebratory wines. Higher acidity make them excellent companions with food – particularly seafood (and not just the classic match with oysters). They pair brilliantly with smoked salmon, caviar and sashimi. Sparkling wines can cut through the richness of pork and they shine with many Asian dishes.
Sauvignon Blanc is the most prominent grape variety planted in New Zealand. It's popularity across the globe is driven, in part, by its consistency at all price points, recognisable aroma and flavour profiles and availability. New Zealand’s southerly location, strong maritime influences and narrow shape provides near perfect conditions for naturally high acidity, distinctive fresh, pure fruit aromas and flavours and a predictable growing season that supports these outcomes.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc transmits its terroir, or “sense of place,” in a very distinct way. Our wines are typically bright and effusive, with a zingy acidity that complements the citrus and fresh herbal notes, balanced on a light and crisp body.
While Marlborough still dominates production, and is the style most drinkers associate with New World Sauvignon Blanc, there are excellent examples to be found from Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Nelson, Canterbury and Central Otago too.
According to New Zealand Winegrowers Association, more than five million glasses of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc are enjoyed worldwide every day!
Breaking on to the New Zealand scene in the early 1990s, Pinot Gris has enjoyed a dramatic rise to fame and is now our third most popular white variety. Grown throughout the country, our Pinot Gris is fresh and full-flavoured, with notes of apple, pear, honeysuckle, spice and bread.
A New Zealand Pinot Gris is more akin to those from Alsace, France in style, rather than the drier Pinot Grigios of Italy, the United States or Germany. Barrel ageing, fermenting with native, wild yeasts, and lees stirring are common practices our winemakers use to build texture, mouthfeel and complexity.
The gentle acidity and marked fruitiness of a well balanced Pinot Gris perfectly complements roast pork with a stewed pear sauce, or match with creamy pastas, poultry and seafood.
The South Island of New Zealand is the perfect climate for Riesling – bright days, cool nights and long, dry autumns. Over 90% of New Zealand's Riesling is grown in this region.
Styles range from bone dry to lusciously sweet. A Riesling from sunny Nelson has stonefruit and spice characters whereas Marlborough is more lemon and lime and Central Otago delivers green apples, citrus and a lot more minerality.
The combination of fruit intensity, citrus notes and refreshing acidity in New Zealand Riesling complement a wide range of Asian cuisine. The drier styles pair well with salads, Japanese tempura and light seafood or chicken dishes, and the sweeter styles with spicy yet fragrant Asian dishes, such as Thai curry.
New Zealand’s geography is perfectly suited to craft white wines full of delicacy, finesse and freshness. This is thanks to our maritime climate, long sunshine hours, crisp nights and some of the most southerly latitudes in the wine world.
One such white is the noble chardonnay whose reputation has suffered over recent years due to a deluge of cheaply produced, homogenised and heavily oaked examples flooding wine stores. We’re pleased to say, this is nothing like what you’ll find in our chardonnay.
Our winemakers draw their inspiration from the legendary whites of Burgundy, producing chardonnay that is elegant, restrained and, in many cases, highly ageworthy.
In the warmer, sunnier north, in places such as Hawke’s Bay, chardonnay is scented with fresh tropical fruits and has wonderful rounded textures and a backbone of minerality. As you move south to cooler overall temperatures you’ll find elevated acidity and a leaner, more citrus-driven profile.
With the characteristics of both a red and white wine, Rosé is incredibly versatile. It’s perfect when entertaining friends or to pair with a spring/summer menu.
New Zealand Rosé are typically light-bodied, fruit-focused, and made in a balanced style. Our winemakers produce both still and sparkling Rosé and, unlike French Rosé, the majority are made from Pinot Noir grapes – either as a single varietal or blended with Malbec, Merlot, or Syrah.
The hallmarks of a Pinot Noir Rosé are its red-fruit flavors of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. They are elegant, with clean acidity, and come in many different hues of pink – from the palest pink salmon to rich ruby coral.
Rosé is fabulous to enjoy on its own or with canapés that feature smoked salmon, sashimi, or goat’s cheese. When it comes to something more substantial, Rosé a perfect match for savory tapas and light pasta dishes as well as with many Thai, Indian and Mediterranean-style dishes.
Over the past 40 years, New Zealand Pinot Noir has gone from strength to strength to become a serious player on the world stage. New Zealand now produces Pinot that is truly world-class, combining old-world production with new world flair, without the prohibitive price point of a Burgundy.
Why is New Zealand Pinot Noir so successful? Compared to other new world wine regions, our Pinot Noir is vibrant yet restrained in character. Not overly manipulated, extracted or oaked and with lovely fruit, as our vines mature, our wines are developing more depth and complexity.
The secret is our oceanic climate, clean air and rich, diverse soils. From as far north as Auckland to the deep south of Central Otago, Pinot grows everywhere. There are several distinct regions and sub-regions, each with their own unique terroir and climate, providing vineyards with a unique point of difference.
Don’t take our word for it. Tina Gellie from Decanter Magazine wrote, “New Zealand has developed a reputation for the quality of its Pinot Noir in recent years, and they can offer great value for money compared to the old world competition”.
When it comes to New Zealand reds, Pinot Noir might be the reigning king however Syrah is hot on its tail; quietly emerging as a force to be reckoned with – particularly for collectors and those who favor bolder reds. Complex, spicy, and supple New Zealand Syrah is one to watch.
Don't make the mistake of thinking a New Zealand Syrah is similar to a Shiraz. The two couldn't be more different.
Elegant, cool climate expressions of Syrah can be found in New Zealand’s South Island regions, but the majority comes from the warmer North, primarily Hawke’s Bay, home to the mineral rich soils of the Gimblett Gravels wine growing district. These wines are akin to the elegant Northern Rhône style with deep plum and savoury black pepper flavors, and even a hint of violets.
Very few wines can stand up to the powerful ﬂavours of Peking Duck like a beautifully scented New Zealand Syrah. Its also excellent paired with barbecued meats and beef served with a full ﬂavoured sauce, or with tomato-based dishes such as pizza or bolognese.
New Zealand has been producing blended red wines for centuries. Today Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon are the most popular varieties for blending with wines from Hawkes Bay consistently showing some of the best examples.
Structured, powerful, approachable. Our winemakers craft elegant yet intense red wine blends by harnessing the structure and finesse of Cabernet Sauvignon with the full, ripe fruit of Merlot. These wines are exciting when enjoyed young but are well worth cellaring where they will develop a rich complexity with age.
A superb food wine, Cabernet blends are notable for their purity of fruit expression. They are approachable when young, or complex, leathery and gamey with age. Delicious partnered with red meats and game or winter casseroles, and sumptuous with a strong cheese.