Martin Moran reviews wines from New Zealand on today's show
Even those who know little about wine will probably have heard of New Zealand's best known export, a staple of wine lists everywhere, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Its most famous label is Cloudy Bay which burst onto the scene dramatically with the 1986 vintage. Its impact was extraordinary and it was instantly lauded by critics as the world's best Sauvignon Blanc and its fame was almost singlehandedly the engine of growth for the New Zealand industry.
It's still going strong and this week I had a chance to taste several back vintages as well as the current release and it was interesting to see how good they looked as this is a grape variety that doesn't have a reputation for ageing.
The industry has of course expanded beyond just Sauvignon Blanc and arguably the forgotten child, the Cinderella of the industry is Chardonnay and it's fascinating just how good it can be in New Zealand. Good examples can be found throughout the country but Hawkes Bay on the North island arguably makes the best.
Like Australia, New Zealand has a series of wine shows where wines are judged blind and medals and trophies are awarded. The Air New Zealand wine awards are perhaps the most highly regarded. Amongst white wines entered into the shows one has stood out repeatedly for the last number of years. The last five vintages of Vidal Legacy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay have won every award imaginable both locally and at international shows.
The latest release, 2013, won 'Champion Wine of the Show' in the Air New Zealand Awards and the 2012 that we'll taste on the show won 'Best NZ White Wine' in the Decanter Asia Wine Awards and International trophy for best Chardonnay over £15 at Decanter UK's Wine Awards. Details here. http://goo.gl/0splX5
Cloudy Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015,
€31.99 in Bradley’s Cork and €33-35 in many independent wine stores.
Classic modern Sauvignon Blanc with pungent notes of gooseberry, passion fruit lemon and lime with a tangy fresh palate.
Vidal Legacy Chardonnay 2012, Hawkes Bay
€35 in Winesoftheworld.ie
A doppelganger for really fine Burgundy costing twice this price. The nose has a struck flint smokey not plus nuts and peach allied to a more-ish creamy texture.
Martin Moran MW, @winerepublic