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Friday, January 24, 2020

New Zealand Wines You Gotta Try in 2020

                            Hawke's Bay Gimlett Gravels are from milleniums-old rivers

Looking for interesting new wines for 2020?   I'm on my way shortly to New Zealand and I’ve got ten don’t miss wines from the country's North Island---all of which are imported into the USA.  These carefully chosen “gotta trys” come from two different wine regions. 

The first district, Hawke's Bay, is one of the country’s warmest grape growing areas.  Hawke's temperatures make it a popular spot to grow red varieties, although a good amount of Chardonnay is also produced here.  The wine area is composed of sub-regions, the most famous of which is the Gimlett Gravels.  These deep, free-draining gravels have only a thin layer of topsoil over them.  Most of the Hawke's Bay red wines listed below are from this special terroir.

The other quality wine district on New Zealand’s North Island is Martinborough. This area is a much smaller and cooler, and the focus here is Pinot Noir.  In fact, New Zealand has long been known for its signature varietal, Sauvignon Blanc. Pinot, however, has now gained a huge momentum and is rivaling Sauv Blanc.  The country’s best Pinot is from Martinborough.

Below's your list for 2020, listed alphabetically by producer.

Ata Rangi (Martinborough)
  • Pinot Noir:  scored consistently high by international critics, this is one of the best examples of the magic of New Zealand Pinot.  $55

Elephant Hill   (Hawke's Bay)
  • Airavata Syrah:  Airavata is the powerful God of Elephants in Hindu.  This wine is a powerhouse with a long, silky finish.  K&L in San Francisco has it for $50.
  • Hieronymus:  A blend of Merlot and Malbec with a small amount of Cab Sauv mixed in.   Only made in exceptional years, this one is a near-perfect wine.  $50
Palliser (Martinborough)
  • Sauv Blanc:  along with the cooler variety Pinot Noir, this winery also produces a terrific white that is a great price for $20 bucks a bottle.

Sacred Hill (Hawke’s Bay)
  • Helsman:  A huge wine made from a blend of Cab Sauv and Merlot with a little Cab Franc sprinkled in.  $42
  • Deerstalker’s Syrah:  Knock-out aromas & a great finish.  $42

Te Mata Estate (Hawke’s Bay)
  • Sauv Blanc Cape Crest:  This elegant barrel fermented wine has a little Pinot Gris & Semillon included.  $25
  • Elston Char:  an opulent example of what this varietal can do.  $35
  • Coleraine:   one of the area’s highest Parker scoring wines, it's a medium bodied wine with silky tannins.  60% Cab Sauv,28% Merlot & 12% Cab Franc.  $77

Trinity Hill (Hawke’s Bay)
  • Homage Syrah:  one of the iconic red wines of the Gimlett Gravels.  $75

Coming with us to New Zealand in February 2020?   Wine-Knows will be visiting all ten of these producers and you can taste the best of the best in person!


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