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New Zealand wines: They’re so much more than just sauvignon blanc.
Sure, the country’s Marlborough appellation is still renowned the world over for its elegant, crisp sauvignon blancs. But New Zealand’s wine production has boomed in recent years, including the world’s most complex chardonnays and pinot noir. New Zealand’s top examples of these grapes have become some of the best produced outside France in the last decade – and we suggest getting some in your cellar before prices skyrocket.
To taste some of the best of what New Zealand currently has to offer, look no further than Aswines. The winemaker and distributor operates a variety of vineyards in the Marlborough appellations, in addition to Martinborough and Central Otago – both stellar winegrowing regions in their own right.
Central Otago, located in the centre of New Zealand’s South Island, is home to some intense winegrowing conditions: Long, hot summer days, followed by cooler evenings.
Those conditions – coupled with the cherry orchard that surrounds Cherry Block‘s vineyard – make for a bold, spicy pinot noir with incredible character for the price. Grown from 20-year-old vines, the 2019 vintage features raspberry, cherry, spice and almond characteristics.
Tasting notes: “The extreme cold night and long summer days of New Zealand’s Central Otago region are the conditions that serve to produce the vivid, rich and spicy Cherry Block Pinot Noir. Ripe cherry, raspberry are complemented by spice and mushrooms.
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A collaboration between Martinborough winemaker Peter Croft and boutique winemaker and distributor Antipodean Sommelier, Pirinoa Road is a cult-favourite label that delivers consistent, value-priced Martinborough classics.
Their chardonnay – which hails from Hawke’s Bay, the source of 30 per cent of New Zealand chardonnay – has earned high honours from New Zealand wine reviewers. The 2018 vintage is complex and refreshing, with notes of peach, apple, citrus and quince and citrus.
Tasting notes: “Wonderfully fruited and inviting, the bouquet shows golden peach, rockmelon, baked fig, vanilla and cedar characters. It is equally impressive on the palate with excellent weight and persistency. The wine offers fabulous complexity backed by creamy mouthfeel and refreshing acidity, finishing long and delicious. At its best: now to 2022.”
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Snapper Rock, Aswines’ flagship winery, produces another sterling example of a Hawke’s Bay chardonnay under its own label. The product of a hot, dry growing season, the 2018 chardonnay was honoured by New Zealand-based Metro Magazine in its Top 50 Wines For 2020 list (high praise indeed).
With Snapper Rock wines available at some of Toronto’s top restaurants, this is a unique opportunity to get them without the markup, delivered right to your door.
Tasting notes: “A fragrant bouquet bursting with stone fruit and melon with hints of lemon peel. Rounded texture with rich vanilla and nutty toast are balanced by the refreshing acidity and long finish. A perfect match with rich seafood, white meats and salads.”