The wines of New Zealand are some of my favorite imports. The world’s southernmost wine-producing country offers the best of old and new worlds, its wines boasting lush fruit and complex depth. Rich, mineral soils, a cool climate like the Loire Valley’s, and a long, dependable growing season like California’s combine to create wines that are extremely consistent and delicious. A favorable exchange rate makes them generally affordable as well. New Zealand’s wine industry is young. It burst onto the global scene in the 1980s with a fantastic tropical variant of sauvignon blanc and hasn’t looked back. Like most new world wines, New Zealand’s are labeled by grape or varietal.
This month’s selections are available at all Byerly’s Wine & Spirits locations.
Brancott Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (Marlborough), $10.99
Light and refreshing, this wine is on the simple side. It has a nice nose with lemon, peach, and a hint of mineral. It’s an easy drinker and a great poolside sipper.
Monkey Bay Chardonnay 2004 (East Coast), $10.99
It smells like summer and is fruity, medium-bodied, with a long, refreshing finish. This chardonnay is balanced with crisp acid and pairs nicely with summer salads or shrimp off the grill.
Goose Bay Pinot Noir 2006 (East Coast), $18.99
There’s a rich blackberry color, nose, and flavor, but it’s lighter than it looks, with lush fruit and a cool strawberry finish. Try this one with salads or mild cheeses. (Certified kosher.)
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2004 (Marlborough), $23.99
This is the tropical fruit bomb that put New Zealand wine on the map. Apricot, pineapple, and passion fruit are all rolled up into one big party on your tongue, balanced with a limey acid that brings it all together. If this is the only one you try, you made a great choice.
Whitehaven Pinot Noir 2005 (Marlborough), $29.99
Pinot noir has become so popular that a “nice, affordable pinot” has become a punch line. If this wine was from Oregon or Burgundy, it would be $50. It’s big, complex, and delicious—jump in and enjoy it with lamb chops or grilled salmon.