Page 0094

92 � squaremeal.co.uk

among reds. But perhaps more exciting are

lesser-known varieties, especially whites,

bundled under 'other and unknown'. �ese

include Grüner Veltliner, Sauvignon Gris,

Viognier, Albariño and Arneis.

But let's start with Chardonnay, with

plenty going for it but occasional bad

press. �e Wine Society's Sarah Knowles,

a Master of Wine, believes Chardonnay is

currently giving "some of New Zealand's

highest-quality wines". �e climate that

produces distinctive, pure Sauvignon

Blanc produces Chardonnay that combines

the former's clarity, fruit intensity and

crispness with the latter's roundness and

concentration, subtly enhanced by oak.

Coming up fast is Pinot Gris/Grigio.

�ere's still no consensus on the name,

but most winemakers agree on what it

should taste like. Generally, the wines

are aromatic, bright and fruity, with pear,

peach and honeysuckle flavours, and a

zesty, fresh, off-dry finish - a neat halfway

house between light, neutral Italian Grigio

and rich, exotic Alsace Gris.

�e other Gris creating a buzz, thanks

to success at Brancott Estate, is Sauvignon

Gris, which has a tangy, green streak

like its Blanc sibling, but is fleshier, with

more tropical fruit and a more succulent

texture. �en there's Viognier, taking

fleshiness and succulence a step further

with characteristic perfumed peach and

apricot fruit and combining it with the

zingy natural acidity that lifts all New

Zealand whites.

�ree other white varieties showing

how New Zealand winemakers are

reaching outside the box are Arneis (Italy),

Albariño (Spain) and Grüner Veltliner

(Austria). It's early days for the first two,

but Villa Maria has hit the spot with its

Arneis wines. Group chief winemaker

Nick Picone describes them as "fresh,

charming and approachable" and not

too demanding. While only a handful

of wineries produce Albariño (Waitrose

and Booths supermarkets stock Stanley

Estates), it's certainly on the radar.

As for Grüner Veltliner, Fiona Turner,

who makes a delicious one at Tinpot Hut,

says, "We're still working out what to do

with it. It's a new proposition." Although

she has already come to one conclusion:

she may have released the 2013 a bit too

early. "While pleasant in their youth, I

think that these

wines are gaining

interest and

depth with some

bottle age," she

explains. "�e

2013 Tinpot

Grüner is really

looking good now."

(See the recommendations box on p.94.)

PINOT BASICS

Red is led by Pinot Noir, which thrives on

both islands, making wines of fruit-driven

purity with subtle regional variations. You

don't need to know these to enjoy it, but if

you're a Pinot nut, here's a quick guide.

Wairarapa: richer, structured and often

quite Burgundian, with plummy fruit

and chocolate hints. Nelson: fragrant and

elegant with cherry fruit and a sweet-earth

silkiness. Canterbury and Waipara Valley:

PINOT NOIR, WHICH THRIVES ON

BOTH ISLANDS, MAKES WINES

OF FRUITŠDRIVEN PURITY WITH

SUBTLE REGIONAL VARIATIONS

CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT: LAWSON'S DRY HILLS, MARLBOROUGH;

CRAGGY RANGE, HAVELOCK NORTH; MISSION ESTATE WINERY, HAWKES

BAY; SAUVIGNON IS NOW 85 PER CENT OF THE COUNTRY' S EXPORTS

WINE

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