The wines of New Zealand just keep on getting better. Or, put more accurately, we constantly see a wider range of styles and bottlings coming to the Unites States, which leads to a fuller and more impressive appreciation of them. For a long time, of course, most consumers associated New Zealand with gooseberry-inflected Sauvignon Blanc and affordable-and-cheerful Pinot Noir. That was never a complete picture of the range and breadth of New Zealand's wine culture, of course, but it was much of what we had access to here.
All that has changed. Because these days, word is really starting to get out that New Zealand is a country of wildly different wine-growing regions, with unique soils, climates, and, indeed, stylistic goals. And, indeed, a wine-making culture as vibrant and impressive any anywhere on the planet. With a length of nearly 1,000 miles from the southern tip of the South Island to the northernmost part of the North Island, over 9,000 miles of coastline, and a massive mountain range (the Southern Alps), the diversity of terroirs from which New Zealand's wine industry benefits is stunning.
And it is being used to ever-greater success. Earlier this year, I attended a fantastic tasting and seminar, hosted by New Zealand Wine, New Zealand Winegrowers, Craggy Range, and the legendary Oz Clarke at The Musket Room in NYC, featuring dozens of wines from New Zealand, and in addition to countless great bottlings, I came away with a renewed appreciation for the sheer range of wine styles being produced throughout the country. And how seriously delicious they are.
There will be much more coverage of the wines here in the coming weeks and months, but this one, the Trinity Hill Sauvignon Blanc from Hawke's Bay, is a phenomenal example of why consumers and professionals alike should be increasing their focus on the wines of New Zealand: Surprises abound, and the more open you are to seeking them out, the more, I promise, you'll be won over. I certainly have been.
Trinity Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Hawke's Bay
Very aromatically complex, with kaffir lime leaf and a hint of tarragon weaving with Cara Cara orange, more classic grapefruit, passionfruit, and a bit of spice. On the palate, this is zipped through with distinctly mineral acidity, an almost gunflint-like hint of smoke to it, as well as white grapefruit, springtime flowers, and more spice. Delicious, assertive, and beautifully made. At less than $20 SRP, this is an absolute steal.