It’s about time for another AMA - and this time we’re talking all things New Zealand!
Friday 20th July, 1-2pm: New Zealand wine AMA with buyer Sarah Knowles MW
Sarah’s been our New Zealand buyer extraordinaire since she joined us in 2014 and she’s also the brains (and palate!) behind our Australia, North America and Champagne ranges. Here she is judging lots of lovely New Zealand wines during her recent trip - you can read all about it on Travels in Wine:
I think our current New Zealand offer shows just how much diversity there is - even those (like me) that aren’t sold on sauvignon are really spoilt for choice. It includes:
Summer sauvignons that show exactly why NZ sauvignon blanc is so loved
Aromatic whites like pinot gris and riesling
Some very fine pinot noir
New Zealand’s take on syrah, and merlot-cabernet blends
A special Craggy Range spotlight
So what would you like to know about New Zealand wine?
Send us your questions by replying to this topic. Sarah will then join us live for an hour from 1pm on Friday 20th July and answer the questions we’ve already received plus as many follow-up/‘live’ questions as possible.
Are there any particular vinification or viticultural techniques that are currently being pioneered in NZ? Aside from turbo-charged SauvBlc and Pinot, what grapes are showing distinct characteristics that are only being seen in NZ?
Can NZ Syrah continue to improve in quality and complexity and produce wines that really compete amongst the best in the world in the next 10 - 20 years?
Can i ask a US question as well? The californian market, particularly outside of Napa/sonoma, has a lot of small producers, selling small run cuvees to the domestic market via club/subscription models and from the cellar door. Is this sustainable and does it mean it is effectively impossible for these wines to be exported economically?
Appreciate you will need to generalise, but in your opinion what are the key differences in style of PN between Martinborough, Marlborough and Otago? Are there any up and coming areas we should be looking at?
And if you have time, a very specific question. I’d greatly appreciate an opinion on drinking windows (or at least how long to hold):
Man O’ War Dreadnought Syrah 2013
Felton Road Block 3 Pinot Noir 2015
Dry River Craighall Vineyard Riesling 2016
Fashions come and go in the mass market wine world (e.g. heavily oaked new world chardonnays) - do you see any evidence for that with the ubiquitous NZ Sauvignon Blanc? And if so, do you see local producers reacting?
Are Sauvignon Blanc plantings still rising in NZ, or do you see an increase in other varietals?
So here goes with a few queries on the New Zealand range at TWS.
Having visited NZ in 2016 I got a good general view of the wine scene, although my 3 weeks were mainly on general tourism, it is a lovely place.
TWS Pinot Noir range seems to be stuck. There are a few great producers and areas that aren’t covered well. With such a young and changing wine scene, should TWS be offering more range? As well as Rippon, Neudorf and Escarpment, I was impressed by Aurum as an example and they are not imported at all, what a great boost to have them.
What will happen with the society and Seresin now it has been sold? I’ve enjoyed their wine but also enjoyed Zephyr Family wines who’s son Ben has purchased the vines. Do you have any insight into their plans or TWS vis their wines?
Syrah, there’s been a lots of press about this being the next new thing, could we have a bit more range? Te Mata is great across the range, but how about some gimlets gravel wines?
Whites, you can’t go wrong with Kumeu River. Well done.
Aside from the ubiquitous sauvignon blanc, what type of wines do you think NZ really excels at? As someone who hasn’t really explored NZ wines much, could you point to 2 or 3 that you would recommend as a good introduction to what the country can offer?