In 1998, we enjoyed a dry and very warm summer which allowed us to harvest ripe fruit flavors that about with tropical depth. Cooler nights prevailed which helped the grapes retain their acid levels which resulted in a wine of perfect balance and a full-bodied ripe style.
We then added some spiciness from our more herbal vineyard sites and created a wine of ample character, framed beautifully with its varietal freshness. This Sauvignon Blanc has great charm and will continue to develop in the cellar. The resulting wines are some of the best produced from Marlborough since 1989. -Phil Rose, Proprietor
Wairau River Winery
Established in 1978, the Rose family estate vineyards are situated on the banks of the Wairau River. Low crops and ripe fruit produce wine that has become renowned for exhibiting intense fruit characteristics and classical elegance. “The philosophy that we pursue has always been one of elegance and fruit power with the foundation of the style being drinkability. We put a lot of store in the selection of flavors in the vineyard, subsequent small batch vintning and the final touches of the marriage are created at the blending table."
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A few other New Zealand areas include the region of Auckland, high up on the North Island, Nelson, sitting to the west of Marlborough, and Canterbury, just under Waipara on the South Island. Most wines in New Zealand will come from a designated area and say so on the label.
Auckland was one of the first wine growing regions of the country, but now produces very little of New Zealand's wine. It's pretty wet up there so vineyards are planted in the driest spots possible – reds are most popular here. Nelson is the only region along the west coast of the country, producing Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Canterbury's chilly climate is best suited for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
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.