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New Zealand, The Kiwi Culture by Juanita Diusabá Yusunguaira

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Firstly, don’t forget to purchase one of the Curious Case wines from Noble Green Wines; secondly, please enter and explore a world of new sensations out of a sip or even from a whole bottle of wine! Finally, enjoy the huge variety that great winemakers who produce independent wine, craft beer and spirits have to offer in the UK. We are looking forward to having a chat with you on Thursday the 25th of March.

New Zealand is one of those places which I will definitely visit soon! The first word that comes to mind when I think about New Zealand is WINE; this is, as I have become obsessed and very passionate about it after working for various kitchens and studying wine for some years now.

New Zealand’s name is somewhat synonymous with “Kiwi Wine”, which grows all over the large coastal area of the country. New Zealanders produce delicious and high-quality seafood, have barbeques with open doors which offer great views; they complement it with extravagant desserts and wine, of course. They are lovely people and convey positive vibes!

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about NZ?

New Zealand equals Sauvignon Blanc. Almost 80% of the whole production comes from the South Island, but it grows all around the country, followed by the Pinot Noir, which is the country’s main red grape variety.

Sauvignon Blanc grow all around the world; this wine is made in many different interesting styles.

The most recognised valleys or regions are where cold climate conditions prevail. It can also be found in some of the warmer regions, such as The Central Valley or the North Coast in California, where the grape is called “Fumé Blanc” (meaning oaky white).

The Central Vineyards in the Loire Valley, from a cool continental climate, produce awesome “Sancerre” with floral and tropical fruit expressions or “Pouilly Fumé” from the great chalky soils, etc.…

The Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand is best known for its gooseberry, elderflower, grapefruit and passion fruit notes. Fuller bodied styles can be found, especially when blended with Semillon grapes, which makes the wines more complex, silky-textured, and adds personality.

Those are some of my favourite ones, even though my preference also depends on the occasion... Sauvignon Blanc is considered one of the most food-friendly wines, and I would definitely pair it with a fatty and buttery fettuccine, white truffle sauce or a rosemary branzino accompanied with baby yellow potatoes, for example!

The following comes from the point of view of an experienced winemaker based in Washington State who has been travelling and making wine all around the world:

“It’s such a concentrated wine-producing region with a lot of superb big wineries. Like a lot of wineries that process 10,000 - 50,000 metric tonnes of wine per year!. A huge mass-produced wine like Sauvignon Blanc, a lot of the fruit is picked too early (1/3), on-time (1/3), or too late (1/3). So by the time you blend all the different pick dates together, it actually makes a pretty good wine!.

New Zealand consists of two main islands surrounded by the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, which have different temperature ranges. The warmer North island has longer, sunnier days and more sunshine hours, which makes it quite hot during the ripening season. The vines can flourish thanks to the waves of breezes that help cool down the temperature with great diurnal ranges, which also helps to retain the grapes' acidity during the night. Good canopy management is also very important as these soils contain a lot of nutrients.

Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are produced in Auckland, one of the hottest areas; it can also get very humid over there, going a little further down Gisborne, which is located on the east side of the North Island full of gorgeous aromatic varieties.

Hawke’s Bay makes wine from Bordeaux varieties. The best-known sub-region for producing high-quality wines are the Gimblett Gravels. Those soils are low in nutrients, and the resulted grapes have a bigger concentration of volatile flavours as those grapes retain the heat and have good water drainage. “The gravels of Gimblett Gravels tell a story that is uniquely Kiwi.”

On the top of the South Island, we find Martinborough, a place recognised to produce world-class Pinot Noir.

Take a look at the sub-regions, the valleys of Wairau and Awatere! Different exciting styles are executed there… Wairau has a lot of sunny days and great displays of tropical fruits such as Passion fruit, pineapple, lemon and kiwi. In contrast, Awatere is cooler and windier so expect more acidity in their wines with lemon peel, green apple, gooseberries and commonly elderflower. Both Wairau and Awatere are very interesting and great in their own respect.

To conclude, we have Nelson, Canterbury and the prestigious Central Otago, which are influenced by high altitude mountains and valleys. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling can be found here.

There are way more wonderful things to say about this beautiful country. It does export so much wine, indeed! Mostly to the UK, USA and Australia. Wines are very affordable, and a lot of international varieties are produced here.

Finally, I would like to add that “Kiwis” are great travellers, and we understand that adjusting to a new place can be daunting, but fortunately, sharing food is a common Kiwi way of bringing people together in a relaxing atmosphere.

Juanita Diusabá Yusunguaira Sommelier

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