Words: Henry Yuen (Chinese post: http://taiyangbao.ca/author/henryyuen/ )
Being an integral part of the country’s economy, the agricultural sector of New Zealand is a huge one. Together with the food and forestry industry, they generate over 70% of the total export earnings. New Zealanders realize these as the pivots in maintaining the stronghold of the population and their well-beings; needless to say, they embrace and support the industries dearly. There is a concerted effort by the New Zealand wine industry to ensure high quality wines are produced to excel in the export market and indeed, 80% of New Zealand wines are exported today. Inarguably, the wine industry has been an essential part of the overall GDP generator, crafting quality wine is the inevitable strategic initiative to ensure economic vibrancy.
Since the first planting in 1973 in Marlborough, It becomes a well-known fact that New Zealand produces outstanding and alluring Sauvignon Blanc. “Do what you do best” is seemingly the shared philosophy there. If the terroir is best suited for Sauvignon Blanc, they will then pour out the best effort to this varietal to produce the world’s best. Current data tells us almost 70% of wine produced in New Zealand is Sauvignon Blanc. Surely, they have been showing the world they mea1nt what they say by coming up with a number of top of the world Sauvignon Blanc!
One perennial winner is the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. Having elevated from cottage winery status to Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines in less than 15 years is what I say impressive.
I recently tasted Kim Crawford 2013 vintage wines, here are my wine notes.
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2013 - Harvested from the Mairau Valley of the Marlborough appellation from vines of 14 years and more, this wine opens with a bright tropical fruit and citrus aroma laced with grapefruit and pineapple. The smooth mouth feel is weaved with crispy and refreshing vibes, a hint of minerality brings out its acidity and vibrancy. If you want to sample the superior quality and characteristics this New Zealand varietal is famous for, this would be it.
Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2013 - Another fine representation of the Marlborough appellation is the Nobilo Region. All 100% Sauvignon Blanc sourced from different blocks of vineyards of the Awatere and Wairau Valley. The harvests from the different blocks were kept separate throughout the winemaking process to preserve their distinctiveness before blending. The result is a complex wine but tantalizing with freshness. The floral aroma and a light earthy hint bring in good complexity. It has a round mouth feel on the palate; adequate citrus, pineapple and summer fruit notes render the zesty, easy drinking harmony.
While the superiority of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is hard to beat, it doesn’t mean other varietals always have to take a backseat and remain anonymous in the wine scene. The Monkey Bay 2013 Pinot Grigio from the Hawkes Bay region is an example of the diverse landscape of New Zealand welcoming to other varietals too. Light, pale straw in colour, it is the result of the non-skin contact treatment when pressing. The result is a refreshing and vivid Pinot Grigio with subtle dry apple skin and preserved peach aroma. It is round on entry with lots of fruit and a touch of floral note in the finish. It is off dry and a good contrast to the Sauvignon Blanc.
New Zealand’s wine history may be young in comparison to the Old World wines, but the progression is no doubt fast paced and significant enough to turn heads in the international wine scene. Try these wines while they are still in the very competitive price range in BC. Once they get more awards and wider recognition, the rising demand could pose new brackets on their now reasonable pricing.