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New Zealand wines to try: Beyond Sauvignon

There's more to New Zealand than Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir - time to find a new wine to try today...

New Zealand wines to try: Beyond Sauvignon

Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are still the bread and butter of the New Zealand wine industry, each variety making up some 70% of white and red plantings. And Chardonnay – the dominant grape between 1993 and 2003 – is also seeing a revival, comprising about 12%.

But there is much more to Kiwi wine than this popular trio, particularly aromatic whites such as Riesling and Pinot Gris – often made in delectable off-dry styles – as well as fledging plantings of ‘alternative’ varieties like Albariño and Grüner Veltliner.


And if you want to try the classics…

New Zealand Chardonnay: panel tasting results

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: panel tasting results


Beyond Pinot Noir there is less diversity in the reds, with Syrah undoubtedly leading the way, especially wines co-fermented with Viognier in homage to Côte-Rôtie.

But the Bordeaux grapes of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec still offer some interest, either as varietals or in a blend, as do unusual and exciting finds such as Stanley Estates’ Lagrein.

The following 10 wines were among highlights tasted at the New Zealand Annual Tasting in London in January.

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