A predominance of dark berry fruit derived characters. Tar and blackberry notes are especially to the fore. Extra complexity is derived from barrel ageing on fine lees. This adds a toasty gamey dimension to the wine.
Good fruit concentration that sits well with the oak and fruit tannin. This wine is muscular. The richness carries through to a long toasty finish.
Spy Valley Winery
The brand name Spy Valley is derived from the presence of a satellite communications monitoring station within a few kilometers of the winery. Situated on the sunny southern side of Marlborough's Wairau Valley, nestled on the terraces of the Omaka River are the vineyards of Johnson Estate. Established in 1993 by the Johnson family, Johnson Estate was one of the pioneering vineyard companies in the Marlborough sub-region and remains family-owned. Eight varieties of grapes grow over 380 acres of free-draining, stony soils producing exceptional fruit for Spy Valley Wines. In ten years, production has risen to place Spy Valley as one of Marlborough's leading family-owned companies. Youthful and exuberant wines are crafted using modern winemaking techniques by winemaker Paul Bougeois and his team.
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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.