Varietal: Chenin Blanc
For centuries, the Chenin Blanc grape has been grown in its native France, and in many other countries around the world (most notably in South Africa). These green skinned grapes are revered for the fact that their high acidity makes them extremely versatile, and Chenin Blanc wines can range from the fascinating, sweet and viscous dessert wines made by allowing noble rot to develop on the fruit, to dry and crisp sparkling crÃ©mants, or simple, elegant still white wines. Their key feature is that they are considered to be a highly 'transparent' grape, allowing the features of their terroir to come through in the glass, and the fact that they can carry a beautiful range of tropical fruit flavors such as pineapple, guava and banana.
New Zealand is a beautiful country with a fascinating wine culture, being one of the youngest New World countries on earth, and with a fervor for quality and unique wine making practices which have allowed it to carve a place in the world of wines. In the very east of New Zealand, we find the stunning region of Gisborne, which is widely regarded as being one of the country's finest regions for the production of high quality, Old World style white wines. The region was originally settled in the late 19th century, and by the early 20th century, vineyards were being planted, and characterful, flavorful grapes were being grown for the country's young but burgeoning wine industry. In Gisborne, the mild climate is ideal for the cultivation of Riesling and Chardonnay grapes, which make up most of the wines which leave the region.
Country: New Zealand
When it comes to New World wines, few countries can compete with Europe quite as well as New Zealand, where modern techniques and technologies are allowing wineries to get the very best results from the wide range of imported grape varieties which flourish there. The warm, sunny climate coupled with brisk oceanic winds and remarkably fertile volcanic soils produce grapes of exceptional quality, and New Zealand wines are notable for their ability to carry the terroir they are grown on into the bottle. Whilst the Sauvignon Blanc wines are probably the most widely exported and popular to come out of new Zealand, fantastic results have been produced from the Bordeaux style wines made in the Auckland region, and the Pinot Noir wines of Central Otago. These Pinot Noir wines are far more fleshy than their Burgundy counterparts, and are probably best enjoyed when young, and bursting with the fruit flavors they carry so well.