This year’s tasting is evidence that the rapid rise of New Zealand bubbly shows no sign of slowing down, writes RALPH KYTE-POWELL.
ALTHOUGH THE ANNUAL Cuisine sparkling wine tasting encapsulates every type of bubbly except Champagne, New Zealand’s wines are always the main focus. This is understandable, given that this is a Kiwi publication, but another
factor determines our direction, and that’s the quality of the New Zealand product. Panellist Simon Nash MW was highly impressed. “These wines set a very high standard,” he said. “It’s interesting to reflect on whether anybody imagined 20 years ago that they would be so good, so soon.” The progress in identifying vineyard sites, mastering viticultural and winemaking technique, understanding blending, and building an enviable body of expertise and intuition has indeed been rapid. New Zealanders should rejoice at having these wines at their doorstep. What will the next 20 years bring?
This chardonnay-based sparkling wine shows that you don’t have to bow down at the French altar for great fizz. Aromas of vanilla bean, oatmeal and lemon zest run through a creaming, flavoursome palate of excellent persistence and firm structure. A wine for special occasions.
The story of quality sparkling wine in Marlborough is a recent one. Among the pioneers of the style, Daniel Le Brun added a unique perspective. He arrived in 1980 from France’s Champagne region, the inheritor of 12 generations of wine expertise. His Marlborough operation was established specifically to produce methode traditionnelle fizz, and Le Brun’s know-how and uncompromising standards soon made this label a New Zealand benchmark.
Le Brun left the operation in the late 1990s, subsequently establishing his new No.1 Family Estate. Now the Daniel Le Brun wine label is part of the vast Lion empire, but in the hands of current winemaker Andy Petrie, the sparkling wine created remains faithful to Le Brun’s pioneering style.
This exuberant example of Lindauer’s sparkling expertise has tons of personality. How …2
Classical in feel, this thoroughbred Deutz chardonnay sparkler is brimming with finesse …3
Maturity adds extra dimensions to this top-notch Marlborough sparkling wine, without compromising …4
Akarua’s credentials for quality sparkling equal its standing as a producer of …5