Bottoms Up — October 6, 2015 at 3:25 pm

A Taste of New Zealand Wines



Let me start off by saying I haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting New Zealand (boooo). However, I have had the pleasure of trying many of their fabulous wines. As you may know, New Zealand is famous for many things — sheep, kiwifruit, the All Blacks, and of course, wine. From Cloudy Bay to Kim Crawford, many New Zealand wines are extremely well-known here in the states. But as much as we may think we love and know these fab kiwi-made vinos, there’s always more to learn and always more to try!

For instance, the vineyards in New Zealand are 95% sustainable, ensuring an environmentally friendly approach to both producing and packaging wine. We had the opportunity to try out two wines from two different vineyards in New Zealand, opening both our taste buds and our minds to new flavors.


Wairau River Wines produces its wine exclusively from its five family estates, where all wines are hand-tended in small batches. The family-run business gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘all in the family.’ All five of the founders’ children are involved in the company and weekly family dinners seat at least 23! Waireau River Wines are also carboNZero certified, meaning they are committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Their 2013 Pinot Noir is a blend of two of the estate vineyards and is aged in French oak for nine months and then bottled. It has a long finish, with notes of cherry and rhubarb, and hints of cinnamon.


Esk Valley Wines mixes old world techniques with modern day skills. Their unique process has garnered great attention — the winery uses old concrete vats alongside new, stainless steel vats, and does not use any modern day technology. Instead, their wine is made the good, old-fashioned way, by hand. The mix of having both a Kiwi and a French winemaker on the team makes for a great result. Chief winemaker Gordon Russell is known as ‘Mr. Merlot,’ and the chardonnay produced by Esk Valley Wines has won numerous awards. And we can see why. Their Hawkes Bay 2011 Chardonnay uses grapes from vineyards around Hawkes Bay, providing the wine with a natural acidity and notes of peach, grapefruit, and just a bit of oak spice.

Both of these wines clock in at under $20, making them a steal, especially for the high quality that they offer. If you haven’t gotten your hands on any New Zealand wines before, now’s the time to start!

Twisted Talk: What New Zealand wines have you tried before? What’s your favorite kind? Discuss below!



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