New Zealand Wine New Release Tasting



By Kori ~ November 10th, 2008.

At the recent Wine Bloggers Conference, we had the pleasure of attending the self-paced New Zealand Wine New Release Tasting hosted by the New Zealand Winegrowers. With all of the wine that had already been poured for us that day and the dinner with wine that was still ahead, Dad (John) and I did not attempt to taste all of the 100+ wines that were offered. Instead, we chose to taste the new releases from wineries that we have previously enjoyed as well as try a few new ones.

We have been big fans of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, the country’s flagship wine, for many years. In fact, NZ Sauv Blanc is Mom’s (LaGayle) favorite varietal, no matter the season. The crisp acidity and refreshing citrus, especially grapefruit, flavors are particularly appealing to our palates. In 2005, we took a trip to the Marlborough region of New Zealand to visit some of the wineries that we had come to love as well as observe New Zealand winemaking up close. It was a fabulous trip and an educational and rewarding wine experience. We found some of the most beautiful wine country and nicest people in the world. If you ever get the chance, I highly encourage you to visit New Zealand.

At this tasting, we chose to taste some of the new 2008 releases of some of our tried-and-true favorites. Of particular note, the 2008 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc and the 2008 Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc both measured up to their previous vintages. In addition to tasting a number of Sauvignon Blancs, we enjoyed one sparkling wine, one Syrah, and several Pinot Noirs. While Pinot Noir has not historically been one of our favorite varietals, we wanted to give some NZ Pinots a chance as we had heard great things about them. In fact, Pinot Noir has overtaken Chardonnay as the second most planted varietal in New Zealand. Unfortunately, none of the ones we tasted really knocked our socks off.

Here’s a breakdown of the wines that we tasted. Under each Quality heading, the wine name and region within New Zealand will be listed along with their recommended retail price (although many can be found for less) and QPR rating. Wines in bold type received a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
2008 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, $19 (widely available for $13-$14), QPR: 5

Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
2008 Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, $12.99 (widely available for $9-$10), QPR: 5

Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
2008 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, $14.99, QPR: 3
2008 Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, $18, QPR: 2
2008 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, $18, QPR: 2
2008 Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, $26, QPR: 1

Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
2007 Mud House Pinot Noir, Central Otago, $16.99, QPR: 5
2008 Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, $10.99, QPR: 4
NV Allan Scott Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine, Marlborough, $23, QPR: 4
2007 Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir, Marlborough, $19.99, QPR: 4
2008 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, $12.99, QPR: 3
2008 Babich Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, $15, QPR: 2

Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
2008 Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, $12.99, QPR: NR
2007 Saint Clair Vicar’s Choice Pinot Noir, Marlborough, $18, QPR: NR
2007 Kennedy Point Syrah, Waiheke, $35, QPR: NR

Quality: 2 stars (out of 5)
2007 Matua Valley Estate Pinot Noir, Marlborough, $20.99, QPR: NR


Filed under: Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, New Zealand Wine, Pinot Noir, Red Wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz/Syrah, Sparkling Wine, White Wine, Wine Activities/Events, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Over $25, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Allan Wright | November 11th, 2008 at 6:16 am

    Kori (and John),

    I like the QPR statistic! I noticed it before but it wasn’t until now, when I am reading your post about wines at the Conference, did it hit home for me. When you list 15 wines, it is a great way to distinguish those you recommend. Good stuff!

  2. Kori | November 11th, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Allan,

    Glad to hear that you like the QPR ratings! I hope these ratings start to “hit home” for even more people. Especially in the current state of the economy, I think people are looking for quality as well as getting the most bang for their buck.

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