The Wines of Middle Earth Part II 05/02/2018 in Musings, Tasting, Uncategorized

With a sleep so beautiful, floating through the northern lands of Aotearoa, Johnny could taste the complex notes of wines he had read about. His dream felt so real. Real enough!! As the dew drops from the hollow tree, the roots of which still breathing fell on his face waking him up to the real world. As he freshened up to start his day afresh and continue his ‘Walk About’, he continued with his reading of the dusty old parchments….

While standing on the bottom edge of the north island, the little magical being took a deep breath of fresh but salty air running in from the sea. The mighty Cook Strait was between him and his destination… The South Island. Crossing it was an adventure to itself. The mighty fleet of the northern kings gave their friend a lift across, a well deserved rest and a hearty meal to warm up his soul to start his travels down south.

The terrain of the south was much rougher with its hills and valleys. The first destination, Marlborough, with its cool yet highly sunny and dry climate, the region provides a diverse array of sub regions increasing the versatility of the region’s wines. The Sauvignon Blanc, the flagship of the wines from Middle Earth (New Zealand) with its sharp aromatics of pure fruitiness along with its herbaceous and exotic mineral notes sets the tone for the region. The darkness of its Pinot Noir, the complexity and unokyness of their Chardonnay and their lush Aromatics such as Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer help reflect the land’s purity and exuberance.

Following next closely on the trail, the picturesque land known as Nelson with its high sunshine, sheltered coastal climate and a diverse landscape provided to the magical traveller with a more restraint Sauvignon Blanc with crisper notes; a more perfumed, fine and deep Pinot Noir; expressive Aromatics and a complex and elegant Chardonnay, a well known trademark of the region.

Further down south in his travels, the little magical being found himself on the east coast region of Canterbury and Waipara Valley. With the Alps on one side and the coastal line on the other, the region provides its wines with a longer growing season with a cool, dry and sunny climate. The bright and fruity Aromatics like the Riesling and the Pinot Gris provide a fresh start to the wines of the region. The longer grown Pinot Noir heighten the perfumed dark notes of the wine while the Sauvignon Blanc increases its crispness of acidic and earthy notes. With more bodacious and rich structure of the Chardonnay, the region’s wines cover a versatile characteristic.

Travelling further, the Waitaki Valley is a stop over to the southern ends of the Middle Earth. The dry limestone terroir provide a unique combination of signature Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer.

As the lands got colder with its snow capped peaks and crisp, cold rivers, the island’s southern most wine region is nestled close by. Central Otago with its extreme climate gifts the region with high intensity and carefully selected wine expressions.  The Pinot Noir, the region’s flagship variety starts the wine trail of the region with a bang of mature, fragrant, lush and well structured intensity. The Aromatics with a range of ascetically dry wines to their sweetness with decadence helped enhance the wine experience of the magical being. The Fine bodied Chardonnay with its complex elegance and its fruity yet earthy Sauvignon Blanc with its signature acidic dry stony finishes are a hallmark to the region. Finishing on a sweeter note to the long but enriching journey, the perfumed Saigee Method Roses serve as beautifully structured Aperitifs to a hearty meal.

With his journey and exploration complete, the little magical being while facing the cold Antarctic winds, standing at the edge of the southernmost tip of Middle Earth felt warm with a feeling of contentment. It was time to head back to his little but tasteful dwelling up north where the weather is just right, where in the coziness he would sip the wines from his great collection while smoking his pipe and telling his great new tale to the little ones of his village….

The script finished as Johnny came across his first destination, The Northland. A feeling of excitement to truly start his own ‘Wine Walk About’, with a great new tale to come….

Note: This is just an overview of wines and wine regions of the south island of New Zealand. For any further information with regards to the wines of south island New Zealand, please feel free to contact Liquid Sunshine and we would be happy to be of assistance.


Story contributed by Chirag Arora