Fruits of the Kiwis

Related tags New zealand Chardonnay Cabernet sauvignon

In the first of our new fortnightly Wine Seller series, Fiona Sims gives the lowdown on what's hot in New Zealand New Zealand wines aren't exactly...

In the first of our

new fortnightly Wine Seller series, Fiona Sims gives the

lowdown on what's

hot in New Zealand

New Zealand wines aren't exactly cheap

True, but people happily pay for them. At £5.96, the wines boast the highest average retail price per bottle in the UK, but you can see why - New Zealand turns out consistently good wines, with its flagship Sauvignon Blanc making up 69% of exports to the UK.

Ever since the first Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs burst on to the UK wine scene two decades ago, we still can't get enough of this grape variety, with its up-front (sometimes in-your-face) herbaceous and gooseberry fruit. The country struggles to produce enough of it, although you'll be pleased to know that the 2006 vintage is their best yet.

What about New Zealand's other classic varietals? I've heard that New Zealand Pinot Gris (aka Pinot Grigio) is earning some praise?

Yes, it is. In fact, Pinot Gris shipments to the UK were up by 51% last year. It's risen from relative obscurity to become one of the most fashionable varieties (in the domestic market, particularly) and is forecast to trump Riesling plantings in 2007.

The problem is, there are so many different styles of New Zealand Pinot Gris out there, from fresh and fruity, to fat and spicy, that it's best to taste a few first before deciding which one you want for your list.

The reds are rather good too, I hear

Too right. In fact, shipments to the UK of Merlot and Pinot Noir have stepped up recently, and Syrah is causing quite a stir. But the most widely-produced red varietal in New Zealand is still Pinot Noir, up 9% on 2004, with exports leaping 151% in the last two years.

They call it the winemaker's Holy Grail

Because it's a pain to grow - but when the climate conspires to help, it's a marvellous thing. New Zealand Pinot Noir has come a long way in a short time, in both quantity and quality, and ranges from pretty, fruity little numbers from powerhouse Marlborough to pricey, more show-off Pinot Noirs from the likes of Central Otago, Martinborough and Waipara. In fact, at the time of writing, some of the world's top Pinot Noir-ophiles are gathering to sing its praises at the biannual Pinot Noir Conference being held in Wellington.

What they are saying

"Your Pinot Noir is among the best - in the top four countries in the world for this variety," gushes The Wine List author Matthew Jukes.

"Maybe in 10 years' time we will have as much of a reputation for Pinot Noir as we do for Sauvignon Blanc," hopes New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan.

New Zealand wine in a nutshell

Share of UK on-trade: 1.5%

Number of wineries: 530 (131 in 1990)

Total production: 57.8m litres

Total exports: 55% of production

Biggest importer: UK with 37%, followed by USA with 24%

Reader offer Your Chance to get an Instant Wine Offer

To help pubs get into wine, the MA is giving its readers the chance to start offering it with a special pack. Aimed at licensees who want to test the water with their customers, the MA's Instant Wine Offer is a nine-litre mixed case of 48 single-serve 187.5ml bottles of the UK's best-selling brands.

Specialist supplier Reads World of Wine has put together a special pack exclusively for the MA at a special price of £45.99 for the first 100 readers to call - a saving of 30%.

The first five callers will receive the pack absolutely free.

As well as the wines, the pack contains a stand to merchandise the bottles on the bar.

The wines included in the pack are:

6 x Mateus Rosé

6 x Gallo Chardonnay

6 x Gallo Cabernet Sauvignon

6 x Paulita Sauvignon Blanc

6 x Paulita Cabernet Merlot

6 x Jacob's Creek Semillon Chardonnay

6 x Jacob's Creek Shiraz Cabernet

3 x JP Chenet Colombard Chardonnay

3 x JP Chenet Cabernet Syrah

To order - and be in with a chance of receiving one free - call Reads World of Wine on 01628 418126, quoting the MA reader offer.

Five of the best to add to your list

Five Marlborough Pinot Noirs for under a tenner

2005 Ra Nui Pinot Noir

(£6.16, Hellion Wines, 07765 472263)

"Bright raspberry fruit with a whiff of rose petals and a bit of grip"

2005 West Brook Pinot Noir

(£7.95, Great Western Wine Company, 01225 322800)

"Knock-it-back Strawberry Mivvy Pinot"

2005 Wairau River Home Block Pinot Noir

(£8.85, Ellis of Richmond, 0208 744 5550)

"Fresh, juicy red berries with a pleasingly spicy twist"

2005 Staete Landt Pinot Noir

(£9.95, Genesis Wines, 0207 963 9060)

"A mouthful of vibrant

rhubarb and raspberries with a round

touch of


2005 Forrest Estate Pinot Noir

(£7.65, Adnams Fine Wines, 01502 727222)

"Pretty, easy-glugging

Pinot with not much up top"

All prices

quoted are per bottle ex-VAT.

Related topics Other operators

Property of the week


£ 60,000 - Leasehold

Busy location on coastal main road Extensively renovated detached public house Five trade areas (100)  Sizeable refurbished 4-5 bedroom accommodation Newly created beer garden (125) Established and popular business...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more