Herald on Sunday, 5 April 2015
Great southern whites
This column was first published as Cheers in Living magazine in The Herald on Sunday, Auckland, New Zealand, 5 April 2015.
Ever wondered what wine people do for three days at a ‘conference’?
Apart from discussing degraded metamorphic rock formations, schist soils and their effect on wine flavour, a hot topic at this year’s Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration was just how cool the region’s whites are.
Otago has about 80% of its grapes (and profit) in the pinot noir basket. It is the world’s most pinot-dominant region, so it was ironic to taste its untapped white wine potential. The bone dry 2013 Amisfield Chenin Blanc and off dry 2013 Mt Difficulty Chenin Blanc were one thing; the 2014 Carrick Josephine Riesling is quite another. It was born and bred as a pirate bottling for winemakers to drink but now sells for $28 a bottle. If cider has grabbed your taste buds by the short and curlies, this white will do likewise. As will the dry chardonnay and rieslings from Gibbston Valley Winery, whose winemaker Christopher Keys opened chardonnay and riesling back to 2000; these are great southern whites. www.carrick.co.nz and www.gibbstonvalley.com
* New Zealand wine exports have just reached a new record high at $1.37 billion; up 8.2% on last year and now the country’s sixth biggest export good.