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Life experiences and interests from abroad

The New World of Wine in New Zealand March 22, 2008

Filed under: Travel,Wine — emccan2 @ 6:40 pm

The diversity in activities as well as wine are clear as one travels through New Zealand’s south island from Nelson to Queenstown.  After just one week in the south island, I have enjoyed gorgeous weather, spectacular landscapes, and magnificent wine and cuisine.  The Nelson region provided a much more relaxed atmosphere where I kayaked along the Abel Tasman National Park, starting at Kaiteriteri bay.

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The water was so clear and blue and the view up to the mountains was particularly beautiful.  More outdoor adventurous are soon to come in the adrenaline-rushed town of Queenstown.

As for my wine experiences thus far, I visited two major wine regions near Nelson.  One is just west of Nelson and the other is due east in Marlborough.  According to, “The longer, cooler growing conditions in the Southern regions promotes stronger and more vibrant fruit flavors together with higher acidity levels. Well over two thirds of Sauvignon Blanc vines are to be found in Marlborough.” To the east, I stopped at Neudorf and Himmelsfeld.  cabsav2001sm.jpgBoth produced excellent Sauv. Blancs, but Himmelsfeld’s wines in particular showed unique, aromatic characteristics that are the outcome of care and consistency of the winemaker, Elizabeth Eggers.  Beth was kind enough to give us a tasting of her range of wines, which included a “cool climate” Cab and Chardonnay unlike any I’ve ever tasted. 

To the east of Nelson, in the popular region of Marlborough, there were far more stops on the wine trail on the drive to Christchurch.  Focusing on recommendations and notable vineyards in this region, there were 5 cellar door stops including: Allan Scott, Hanz Herzog, St. Clair, Cloudy Bay and Huia.  All of Herzog’s wines were splendid, including their Pinot Noir, which was unexpected for the region.  My favorite Sauv. Blanc from this mix was Huia, but could have tied with St. Clair.  Since Marlborough is know for their Sauv. Blanc, it was hard to distinguish a clear favorite when all of them are so good.  What I consistently found, aside from Herzog, was that most of the Pinot Noirs were a little too tannic for my taste and tended to be more earthy and burgundian than the California Pinots I love.  However, I am yet to explore the Central Otogo region, which is known for their Pinots.  From the few I have already tried around Queenstown, I have a feeling that I will find some new gems in the Central Otogo region I will need to keep my eye out for when I get back to Ireland.


4 Responses to “The New World of Wine in New Zealand”

  1. Mom Says:

    It is Easter morning and we are waiting for Cathi and family.
    I had to see if you had posted any new pictures. I was pleasently surprised. What a beautiful place. I love reading about all the different places you have been. I was going to say wish you were here with us. But on second thought I wish we were there with you. What a great adventure.

    Love you,
    Happy Easter

  2. Jaime Says:


    I’m sooo appy for you and all the wonderful time you’re having, ENJOY !! Is almost spring time and I often think of you and your tennis. Take care and keep the info coming.


  3. emccan2 Says:


    I hope things are going well for you in Columbia and that your family is doing well. Say hi to Norma-Jean and the girls for me. I should be back in Columbia this summer and would love to hit the courts with you.


  4. Lar Says:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    your trip sounds like a blast. Was in NZ about 7 years ago but without an appreciation for wine at the time.

    I really like the Central Otago Pinot Noirs – quite similar in many ways to Californian Pinot Noirs – a kind of Cola buzz going on in there somewhere.

    If you’re around Otago, look up the Mount Edward vineyard, one of the best and established by an Irish guy, Alan Brady, credited with bringing Pinot Noir to Otago.


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