Sweet aroma of melon, apple and honey greet the taster and are duplicated on the rich warm palate. Sweet fruit and complex caramel notes are nicely balanced with fresh acidity and juicy primary flavors. Full weighted and refreshing.
It would sit happily next to a bowl of fettuccine pasta in a sauce based around cream and sage, or partner it with Chinese-style stir-fried chicken in a lemon-flavored sauce.
In 1916, pioneer wine maker Josip Babich fashioned his first New Zealand wine - this was the beginning of what was to become Babich Wines. In 1910, as a boy of fourteen, Josip Babich left Dalmatia (part of modern-day Croatia) to join his brothers toiling in the gumfields of the far north of New Zealand. The shift to Henderson Valley came in 1919. On a 24-hectare wilderness property, Joe and his wife Mara established a small orchard and planted classical Meunier wines.
During the Second World War, winemaking slowly became the family's major business activity. By the 1950s, son Peter had joined the company and the 1960s saw the emergence of Joe Babich Junior as winemaker. With Peter and Joe Babich at the helm, Babich has been transformed from a small, predominantly fortified wine producer into a modern winery renown for producing world-class wines.
Today the Babich Winery, lying in the rolling country at Henderson in West Auckland, is one of New Zealand's largest family-owned wine companies.
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Hawkes Bay is the second largest wine region, following Marlborough. The area is known for its shmorgasborg of different microclimates and soils. Gimblett Gravels, while sounding like a character out of Lord of the Rings, is a soil and a district in the area. Gimblett Gravels are a gravelly mix that absorb and retain heat, much like the soils of Graves in Bordeaux or Chateauneuf du Pape in the Rhone.
Chardonnay is the most planted grape variety here, and makes some excellent, usually un-oaked, wines. Sauvignon Blanc from the region are some is the best from the North Island. In addition, many winemakers are throwing their hat in the Bordeaux Blend ring, taking advantage of long sunshine hours and Gimblett Gravel soils by growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Syrah is also planted around the area and the reds are frequently blends. A few winemakers are making Pinot Noir from the cooler parts of Hawkes Bay.
The country of New Zealand is about 1000 miles from the coast of Australia. It consists of two long islands, end to end, that are approximately the same length as California. Most of the country's climate is maritime due to the abundant coastline. The northern island is warmer and wetter, while the southern island is cooler and dryer. The most popular grapes of New Zealand are Sauvignon Blanc (made most famous by the bright, crisp wines coming out of Marlborough), Chardonnay and the ever-growing Pinot Noir.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.