An Evening of New Zealand Wines

The New Zealand Winegrowers Expo displayed consistent wines with concentrated aromas and flavors.


Published:

Over one hundred wines were lined up on the tables, ready to be sampled. But attendees at this year's New Zealand Winegrowers Expo, held at Washington D.C.'s Westin City Center, may have been surprised to see wines grouped by varietal, not by producer. Bottles made with the country's racy, zesty signature grape, Sauvignon Blanc, sat next to other aromatic whites like Rieslings and Gewürztraminers, which stood alongside New Zealand's rising star, Pinot Noir. The vibe was friendly and approachable, one of unity rather than competition.

Most of the Sauvignon Blancs on hand hailed from the current 2006 vintage. New Zealand winemakers keenly recognize that the inviting bright citrus and passion fruit flavors, and vibrant acidity, are best enjoyed during the wine's youth. These wines are perhaps the purest expression of the Sauvignon Blanc grape in the world, and the consistency of their intense aromas and flavors makes them extremely popular. David Strada, U.S. marketing manager for New Zealand Winegrowers, says that "people are recognizing these wines for their quality and style, and they have found them to go so well with food," including freshly-shucked oysters and other seafood, and goat's milk cheeses.

New Zealand is also well suited to growing other white aromatic varieties. The 2006 dry Rieslings were particular standouts, exhibiting apple, peach and mineral notes balanced by refreshing acidity. Gewürztraminers were weightier and richer, with honeyed overtones and the grape's signature spiciness.

The considerable number of Pinot Noirs at the expo reflect the increasing importance of this grape to New Zealand winemakers. Flavors range from tart cherries, to riper berries and sweet plums. Some also exhibit smoky, earthy or meaty notes, giving way to comparisons to red Burgundies. But the country's winemakers put their own stamp on the grape. Fresh fruit, not ageability, is the primary focus of these Pinots, so the screw cap closure so commonly used suits these bottles just fine.

The expo gave wine lovers the chance to taste the results of New Zealand winemaking—consistent wines with concentrated aromas and flavors. "Their respect for the fruit," explains Strada, "shows in the bottle."

Kelly Magyarics is a wine writer and educator in the Metro D.C. area. Kelly can be reached through her Web site, which is www.trywine.net.

More Online Exclusive articles:

Related Articles

Argentina’s Alternative Top-Rated Wine

Malbec is Argentina’s defining wine, but a growing number of ­top-quality Cabernet Sauvignons—and a few Cabernet Francs—prove that the country is no one-trick pony.

Germany’s Best Pinot Noirs

Though cultivated locally for centuries, today’s elegant expressions are fast becoming global darlings.

Your Guide to Top-Rated 2010 Barolos

The 2010 vintage in Barolo is one of the best in recent history. The time to buy is now.

40 Under 40: America's Tastemakers 2014

Our second annual 40 Under 40 list salutes the leaders of a new generation of drinkers.

Subscribe

You can unsubscribe at any time. View an example of our newsletter.

Shop

>

Related Web Articles