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New Zealand sparkling wine – the fizz to follow

New Zealand sparkling wine production is boutique, but over the past 25 years quality – and exports – have increased. Emma Jenkins MW charts the rise of traditional-method bubbly across the country and reveals the wines that fizz fans need to try.

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.


Scroll down for tasting notes and scores of 19 top New Zealand sparkling wines to try



New Zealand sparkling wine: 19 exciting wines to try


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