Top New Zealand sparklers
There is plenty of evidence to support my belief that New Zealand has the potential to become a serious producer of high-quality sparkling wine. However current export figures don’t provide much support for optimism.
Now, all we need is more of it and a multi-million dollar marketing budget.In the past year, New Zealand has exported 1,760,000 bottles of sparkling wine. That sounds like a lot, but it represents only one in every 200 bottles of wine exported. The average price for sparkling wine exports in the past year is NZD $8.12/bottle, suggesting that we’re not putting our best foot forward.
The UK is New Zealand’s largest market for fizz with (curiously) Finland second then the USA, Australia and Sweden.
I assessed three Méthode sparkling wines recently that left me feeling rather more bullish about our chances of earning an international reputation for our fizz.
The 2014 Margrain En Rose is made from 100% pinot noir grapes grown in Martinborough. It’s hardly likely to fool many people into thinking it’s Champagne but it is a bold and flavoursome fizz with a character all of its own. Our pinot noir is making waves internationally, perhaps there is an opportunity to coat-tail this wine on its success? (NZD $45. 94 points)
The 2008 Johanneshof Emmi Méthode Traditionnelle Brut is a pinot noir chardonnay blend with plenty of time (five years) on the yeast lees in bottle. A very appealing wine with plenty of yeast autolysis character and a great texture. (NZD $38. 95 points)
My favourite is the 2009 No.1 Family Virginie Cuvee Méthode Traditionnelle, a prestige label from this country’s most experienced sparkling wine specialist. This is a very classy wine indeed showing great bottle development and yeast-driven complexity. A predominantly chardonnay blend that’s great now but possibly even more interesting in a couple of years. (NZD $85. 96 points)
Now, all we need is more of it and a multi-million dollar marketing budget.