As you enjoy a glass of festive fizz, take yourself back to the start of 2000 and consider this commentary on the state of New Zealand sparkling wine:
‘If you can imagine an oloroso Sherry with bubbles, you will understand why we did not linger… They were made from poor-quality fruit and showed a lack of sparkling wine technique… The Blanc de Blancs was the worst of all, with thin, unripe fruit, which lacked acidity because, ironically, it had been deacidified.’
So wrote Champagne and sparkling wine writer Tom Stevenson about the New Zealand fizz scene some 23 years ago. Mercifully, there were glimmers of hope in his scathing criticism – he also commented that ‘the potential of Marlborough for sparkling wine is, so far, beyond dispute’.
Today, not only Marlborough but many other New Zealand wine regions have fulfilled that potential, producing sparkling wines that are very good indeed.