NEW ZEALAND: Non-sauv blanc wine

I love New Zealand sauvignon blanc – it’s my favourite wine. New Zealand is justifiably famous for it – you can get dozens of different brands here in Canada. I recently tried Main Divide (it’s my new fav), Kim Crawford and Oyster Bay are always good standbys, and Cloudy Bay is a special treat. It’s such a treat that my dad would bring back a case of Cloudy Bay when he went on business trips to New Zealand in the 90s, since it wasn’t available in Canada then.

NZ sauv blanc has a really distinctive taste, mineraly, dry and tart like gooseberries. Sometimes you hear it described as “cat’s pee” – which actually has been used in branding. I remember bottles of Cat’s Pee On A Gooseberry Bush being popular several years back.

But as much as I love their sauvignon blanc, the point of Locally Foreign is to try new things! I’ve gone out and picked up three bottles of New Zealand wine, none of them are sauvignon blanc. I looked for a red, a rosé, and a white. I was warned that NZ chardonnays are can be pretty oaked, which I personally dislike, so I went for something completely different!

Loveblock Gewürztraminer – A vegan wine (yeast doesn’t count?) from Marlborough – it’s dryer than other Gewurtzes, with a distinctly lychee flavour and some nice floral and orange water hints. I really like this – it’s less sweet while still being fruity.

Hãhã Rosé – From Hawke’s Bay around Napier on the North Island. A Merlot and Malbec blend, aroma reminds me of cranberry juice. Nice and dry, with some raspberry notes. It’s pretty light in flavour, but I appreciate how it’s a bit tart. Would be a decent summer picnic rosé. Hāhā translates from te reo to “delicious” (though when used as a verb, it could mean to be out of breath).

Kono Pinot Noir – Kono is a Maori-owned winery from Marlborough, named after a style of welcome basket. They produce a pretty wide range of wines – sauvignon blanc, chard, rosé, several pinots – as well as grow fruit, make cider, and farm oysters (sounds like you could have a pretty good winery tour there). Their pinot noir has an earthy old wood scent, while the flavour makes me think of black cherries – it’s nicely tart and acidic, without too many tannins. There’s a little edge of oak, which I don’t personally love, but it doesn’t dominate.

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