Summer Wine Picks from New Zealand By Frank D. Pond

Developing a “Hobbit” for Great New World Wine

Since we traveled to Italy last month, I thought it was high time to visit some spectacular, and spectacularly priced, wines of the New World on  In anticipation of the upcoming Hobbit trilogy, where better to go than New Zealand.  Some time ago, I put together a winning red wine tour of New Zealand finding some miraculous Syrahs, Merlots, and Bordeaux blends in addition to the more well known and stellar Pinots.  While on the tour, we actually also happened upon some dazzling whites some of which really were surprises to us.  These included varietals that are not in my usual wheelhouse like Rieslings.  Yes, the Sauvignon Blancs are what NZ is most famout for but here I am eschewing those (because you can find awesome one’s quite easily) and focusing on three unique varietals to the North and South Islands.

New Zealand is possibly one of the most beautiful of countries I have visited with amazing variations of topography from the almost Mediterranean flavor of Waiheke Island to the classic wine country of sweeping vineyards of Hawkes Bay to the dramatic Wairarapa crossing to the breathtaking beauty of the South Island with the key stops of Malborough and Central Otago.  I recommend a trip to NZ to everyone especially wine lovers.  Until then, I recommend some great New Zealand wines which, until lately, have been hard to locate in the US.  And has some great choices at great prices.

So, let’s take a trip to the Southern Hemisphere to taste three great New World wines.

White–why not a Riesling?

Huia Dry Riesling 2010

Not sweet or dessert-like but rather a perfect accompaniment to shellfish, cheese, fish and light pastas, try the Huia Dry Riesling, 2010, from the top of the Southern Island of New Zealand from the Marlborough region.  This wine brings citrus and fruit with a fair amount of acid yet with some lushness.  It is a wonderful wine which is different from the Sauvignon Blancs of New Zealand (which are amazingly crisp and speak for themselves) and one that drinks well on its own too.  An afternoon and early evening summer wine.  It is priced at $16.49 on which is a great deal for this ready to drink wine. Shop for this wine now  and  Save 5% off orders of $50 or more. Use code: 5PERCENT. Offer expires 8/31/12.

Palliser Estate Pinot Noir, 2007

Not just any Pinot:

New Zealand is particularly famed for its Pinots especially those from the Central Otago region of the South Island.  These are sophisticated pinots with both earthiness and refinement more in the Burgundian style.  If you love pinots, you must try some of these but I went a different way for this month’s recommendation.  Instead of the Burgundian south, I picked a stellar pinot noir from the North Island.  On the North Island, there is a strong pinot world located in Martinborough in the Wiararapa region (the south end of the North Island).  Here the pinots, while still refined, sing of the earth and offer its bounty.  A very special one to try is the Palliser Estate Pinot Noir, 2007 vintage offered on for $26.99.  It’s a steal and for this Wine Advocated rated at 92 wine.  Refinement and earthiness make this a sultry summer choice. Shop for this wine now and Save 5% off orders of $50 or more. Use code: 5PERCENT. Offer expires 8/31/12.

And for a mouthful, try a New Zealand Bordeaux style Blend:

Craggy Range Winery Te Kahu Gimblett Gravels, 2010 red blend

I had the delight of meeting with a winemaker from this phenomenal vineyard in the Hawke’s Bay area when in New Zealand.  The winemaker is Rod Easthope and the winery is the spectacular Craggy Range Winery.  Rod gave us tastes of most of the Craggy Range inventory and it was all fantastic, really excelling at the Cabernet Blends, the Syrahs and the Syrah blends.  Unfortunately, it is rare to find Craggy Range product (other than perhaps a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot (both of which are great) so it was with glee that I saw that has the Craggy Range Winery Te Kahu Gimblett Gravels, 2010 red blend.  This is a full mouthy wine to be enjoyed with great food or simply terrific conversation.  Berries predominate but the earthy tannins are there too.  It is a stellar wine with great balance with a Merlot lead in the blend at about 80%.  Wow!  It is also spectacularly priced at at $19.99.  I’d get a few. Shop for this wine now and Save 5% off orders of $50 or more. Use code: 5PERCENT. Offer expires 8/31/12.

I hope you enjoy these beautiful wine choices and that they get you to start thinking of that New Zealand trip!  If you do, I recommend Air New Zealand since they pour the best of their home country on the plane.  Why wait?  Until then, drink wine often so as to live life most fully!

Look for hotels in New Zealand for your next trip!