New Zealand’s Bright Horizon
Quality and value remain the country’s strong points, as imports continue to increase
Issue: June 15, 2013
Demand for New Zealand’s crisp Sauvignon Blancs, elegant Pinot Noirs and delicious Chardonnays is booming and for good reason. Not only do the wines offer high quality, but the vast majority cost $30 or less a bottle. Last year, shipments of New Zealand wines to the United States rose by 22 percent to 4.4 million cases, marking the fourth straight year of double-digit growth. (The U.S. is the country’s third largest export market, behind Australia and the United Kingdom.) New Zealand is now the world’s 10th largest exporter by value.
What’s even more impressive is how quickly New Zealand has made its mark. New Zealand wines were barely a blip on wine lovers’ radar screens until the late 1980s, when Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs first started appearing on wineshop shelves. Since then, highly regarded Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays have joined the list of the nation’s top wines, and other varietals are gaining ground, including Pinot Gris, Riesling, Syrah and Merlot.
Greywacke winemaker Kevin Judd, who made two top-scoring Sauvignon Blancs -the Marlborough Wild Sauvignon 2011 (92 points, $29) and Marlborough 2012 (91, $20) allows a portion of each wine to barrel ferment with wild yeasts.
91 pts – 2010 Greywacke Chardonnay
The lemon meringue, peach, coconut water and tangerine notes are pure, refreshing and focused in this white, with a lithe texture. Details of nutmeg, citrus zest and apple hang in the background.
93 pts – 2011 Greywacke Pinot Noir
Elegant, with supple, fresh and lively flavors of raspberry and cherry, meshing harmoniously with details of clove, forest floor, tobacco leaf, pepper and dried lavender that echo on the long, lingering finish. Drink now through 2024.
91 pts/Smart Buy – 2012 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc
Extremely aromatic, with honeysuckle, lemongrass and lemon zest notes up front, followed by equally powerful lemon, tangerine and nectarine flavors. Everything comes together on a smooth, supple and light body, revealing plenty of juicy highlights.
92 pts – 2011 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon
Creamy and luscious, with lemon meringue pie, lemon curd and vanilla pudding flavors up front, followed by hints of smoke and dried chamomile. A fresh acidity weaves in and out, giving a lightness to the ripe, rich flavors.