New Zealand | Wairarapa
The Wairarapa wine region is located at the lower right-hand corner of New Zealandʼs North Island, approximately an hour north-east of Wellington. The winemaking area is divided into three main sub-regions: Masterton to the north, Gladstone in the middle and Martinborough to the south.
Pinot Noir is the region's most planted and certainly most acclaimed grape variety. However, climatically Wairarapa is more aligned to Marlborough than to any of the North Island regions and the success and style of its Sauvignon Blanc is clear evidence of this alliance.
Officially New Zealand's sixth largest region, Wellington is small in production terms but makes a large contribution to the country's quality winemaking reputation.
The flagship wine of the region is the classic Burgundy red grape variety Pinot Noir. Every single regional vineyard grows this grape, which revels in the cool climate that brings gradual ripening and complex flavour development.
The classic Burgundian white wine grape variety, Chardonnay, flourishes in the region’s cool climate, producing well-balanced, food-friendly, structured and complex wines. Ripe citrus and stone-fruit characters, spicy notes and lightly toasted nut flavours and textures are revealed.
The region’s “best kept secret”, Sauvignon Blanc has a distinctive regional character. The wines are described as “intense and vivid", with excellent perfume and, mineral textures, with a good mix of tropical and herbaceous flavours.
Increasingly popular, Syrah is a newer regional success, producing powerful but elegant wines, with white pepper, dark fruit flavours (from blueberries to ripe dark stone-fruit and savoury black olive and spice notes.
The aromatic white wine varieties also impress: mostly Pinot Gris and Riesling, enjoying the long growing season, with small volumes of Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Blanc and Grüner Veltliner.