>New Zealand Wine

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When you think of New Zealand, what comes to mind first? Sheep? Lush landscapes? Perhaps Lord of the Rings (many scenes were filmed here)? For many, the first thought that comes to mind is wine, and rightfully so. Due to its temperate maritime climate and rich volcanic soils, this island country is a large producer of a number of both red and white wines, with different regions specializing in different varieties.

On our recent trip, we had the pleasure of tasting a broad selection of wines from vineyards throughout the country. From the time we stepped aboard our Air New Zealand flight, where we were greeted with a wine guide and menu (complete with descriptions, pictures, and regional summaries for each offering), to the time we reboarded for the flight home, and every meal in between (with the exception of breakfasts, of course), there was scarcely a meal with which a glass of vino was not expertly paired. Whether you fancy a glass of fresh, fragrant sauvignon blanc, or a soft, fruity pinot noir, or anything in between, New Zealand surely has a wine for you. Here, our top three favorite wines (in no particular order):

1. Elephant Hill Chardonnay: a unanimous favorite amongst our group during a wine tasting at the vineyard, this combination of pink grapefruit, citrus blossom, and nectarine complement the sharply focused palate of spicy Meyer lemon, green apple, and hazelnut. This delightful wine pairs well with seafood, poultry, pork, and mild cheeses.

2. Craggy Range Pinot Noir: enjoyed alongside a delicious meal of lamb chops, potatoes, and bok choy aboard our transpacific Air New Zealand flight, this pinot boasts fragrant aromatics of red fruits, plums, flowers, spice, and earth. In addition to lamb, this wine is a great match with salmon, game birds, and pork.

3. Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc: from the famous Marlborough region, this unique and intriguing sauvignon is a personal favorite of our equally unique and intriguing Southern World guide, Tim Reid. It’s delicious flavors of lemon thyme, mandarin blossom, and stonefruit combine harmoniously with ginger spice, and nutty and savory tones, underlined by tropical notes, creating a wine that pairs wonderfully with seafood and game birds, or may be thoroughly enjoyed on its own.

Regardless of whether you prefer red or white, New Zealand is sure to have a wine that will please your palate. And what’s even better, Kiwis are always happy to recommend one that will pair well with your meal, or share their favorite for you to simply relax and enjoy!
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