New Zealand AMA with buyer Sarah Knowles MW

I have mentioned already my love of New Zealand Chardonnay, Riesling and Syrah. I also adore the pinots, so here are a few of my favourites….


A full bodied style, with some great oak, for a steal, perfect roast chicken wine.

I had this at my wedding! Love it.


A good step into this unique spicy style.

One of the best vintages ever in Hawke’s bay and a super producer.


Germanic off dry style with bright New Zealand pure fruit expression.

Opulent and complex – don’t think, just try it!

Pinot (an everyday and one showcasing each major region!)

Perfect with slow cooked lamb on a Sunday…

A real fine wine challenging people’s perception of new world fine wines…

Perfectly ready and utterly delicious velvet-y pinot

One of the best pinots from Marlborough from some of the best winemakers and viticulturists I have ever met.


Wow, there are more Kiwi St Laurent’s out there than I realised! I’ll look out for it on my travels.


Thanks so much for these amazing replies, Sarah!! :smiley: I can’t believe the detail you’ve gone into.

I have a less clever question - what’s been your most memorable wine moment when visiting New Zealand?


New Zealand has some of the most stunning vineyard sites I have ever seen, but I really had to pinch myself when I was tasting a new vintage sample of our Exhibition Central Otago Pinot Noir - made by the hugely talented Paul at Prophets Rock - over looking his steep vineyards that fall right down to the mirror like reflective lake - I vividly remember getting goose bumps!
I even got to stay over up there and watch the sun set - so peaceful, with the perfect wine, simple food, and talented friends.
I am so lucky where wine takes me


Sounds amazing, Sarah! Out of this world, in fact…
Thanks for taking the time to reply so clearly and with so much detail! I don’t know much about NZ wines, being an Old World stick-in-the-mud, but you certainly made me want to experiment a bit outside of my comfort zone!


Thanks for your answers. I really understand the space on the list issue. But from a geeky :nerd_face: bit of view, more choice of the finer things please.

On Seresin, I’ll watch this space. I’m hoping to try some Zephyr wine tonight. at the sun Dedham. The mark 111 SB looks interesting.

I realised now that I haven’t tried the trinity hill gimlets so will order some next time.

Have you tried Burn Cottage. That another that impressed.


Also a less clever question but obviously the actual flight over to New Zealand is quite long and so some refreshment is probably welcome but do you bother with the wine available on the plane considering you’ll be having relatively superior wine when you land? Also do you find the long flight has any affect on your senses that mean wines don’t taste or smell as you’d expect?


Hi Russ,
I just googled the Sun at Dedham and the wine list looks great! Spotted they also have the Pinot which might be worth a try, although Toms Block Pinot is also a firm favourite of mine.
Have a great dinner, a good start to the weekend!

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This sounds INCREDIBLE. If you have a photo you can dig out and share later, please do!

Thanks everyone for your questions - Sarah’s just replying to @catherine’s one now but I think that’s all we’ve got time for today! Thank you to Sarah for such a wonderfully enlightening AMA - there have been a few bottles added to my wish list…

Look out for another AMA coming soon!


The flight is long, I have done it a lot in most classes and I always have a drink!
I am a big fan of a G+T which is always a safe option for me everywhere (except the USA - often terrible v sweet tonic)
But yes, I also have the wine (regardless of quality - although on long haul is often really quite good) and then a whisky or port as well (I like to get my moneys worth)!
I also think that a mini port is often the under valued secret of long haul flights and trying to get a few hours kip!


Thanks @Sarah and @laura - I do think these Buyer AMAs are such wonderful insights for members

I am particularly keen to explore NZ Syrah myself, so am happy with the suggestions (Shame it is a bit early (even for me) to try opening anything to quench that thirst :wink: )


Yes and they have Moutere both red and white. Wish it was simple to choose.


Thanks @Sarah, really enjoyed reading through your posts!


Oh my days what a fantastic response thank you @Sarah

It’s really interesting that lighter wines are being pursued. I think that the new world countries seem very responsive to market demand so it’s intriguing that this is the way. I was fortunate to be involved with a yeast study with Sauvignon Blanc looking at various strains used on the same vineyard and was impressed with the results just from a change of yeast.

I’d be very interested to see how the new fashionable varietals fair. I have actually had the Wither Hills Syrah, it was like having an actual glass of pepper…wonderful stuff. My non-wine friends were blown away by it. great value at around a tenner!

I certainly look forward to seeing the next round of purchases from NZ! :slight_smile:


Wonderful response @Sarah. Understand issues with Waiheke wines. When we were there, we visited Mudbrick. Tasted their £75 a bottle ‘Velvet’. It was like tasting an en primeur Bordeaux. I asked if they had anything a bit more mature and they said, No we sell out every year very quickly. I note their 2014 from the cellar door now £175 !
We loved Osidian and their people

Many thanks
Will try to increase my NZ orders


@Sarah Many thanks for taking the time to provide such thoughtful and detailed responses to our questions - I’m sure your answers took much longer to prepare than our questions!

One of the most valuable aspects to this community is the willingness and enthusiasm of TWS buyers/team members to engage directly with their customers in a two way dialogue, and I’m sure I speak for many when I say how much it is appreciated.

Thank you :+1:


Finally got to catch up this evening (too many Important People in my 1:00 meeting to scroll through) and crikey such amazing responses from @Sarah what an event!!!

Yeah… I just blew up my wishlist. #doingmypart
EDIT: got some whites too… Looking forward to trying those Rieslings!


Many thanks for this - really great insight. Will have to revisit the Gimbletts Gravels!

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Hi @Sarah can I just echo everyone else by saying a big thank you for your detailed, insightful answers. Sorry I wasn’t there ‘live’ but I’ve really enjoyed catching up. Enjoy your trip- I look forward to tasting the fruits of your labours! Can I also join @Russ in a plea for some Aurum on the list!?


Just to add to the NZ feedback Last night at the sun.

So I couldn’t resist the Moutere Pinot Noir 2012 last night. It’s a big and rich Pinot. With a touch of undergrowth and earth. It’s very Burgundian, an over used comparison but apt. More Gevrey than beaune

I really enjoyed it but others felt it too heavy. It’s just great that there are expressions of Pinot like this from NZ as well as the red berry sweet Marlborough style.

The Zephyr Mark 111 Sauvignon was very very gooseberry and went down well. I didn’t get on with it but hey, more Pinot for me.