The Wines Of Middle Earth Part I 03/08/2017 in Musings, Tasting

Back in the yonder years of Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud, currently known by all as New Zealand, there once was a young lad named Johnny who was on his ‘Walk About’ across the islands to explore himself as well as the gifts of his land.  While exploring the culture, its food and its wines, he came to rest under an old rugged hollow tree. In it he went to rest for the day. But something unexpected took place. He found hidden near the roots of the old tree a burrow big enough for him to fit in. So in he went. The dark and dingy place had nothing to offer till he stepped on some old wine bottles and along it was a dusty old bundle of parchment. In it he read……..

The wars fought, the kingdoms restored, the stories of the Elves and the Dwarves became famous all over the land. They became legends of the present ruling over the kingdoms of Middle Earth while a little magical being, sitting in his hole, sipped on wine, narrated the tales of his adventure. Not only was he the only one from his village to go on an adventure but he also was the only one in his village of magical creatures to have the best collection of wines from around Middle Earth, courtesy, his friends, the kings of Middle Earth.

Every evening while narrating small snippets of his adventure tales to the little ones, he would pour himself a glass of the finest wines of Middle Earth.

From his travels up North, the Northland provided him provided his collections with some of the most full bodied rich wines the lands had to offer. The subtropical climate provided assistance in ripening the grapes better than other regions resulting in tropical Chardonnays, Pinot Gris and vibrant Viogniers for the collection of white wines. For his reds, the land offered him with a collection of spicy yet subtle Syrahs, beautiful blends of Cabernet and Merlot, as well as peppery Pinotages and highly complex Chambourcin.

The Auckland region selective in its divine products provided from its collection the finest Bordeaux style mouth filling Cabernet Sauvignons and some of the finest well rounded yet complex Chardonnays the land could offer.

Travelling off shores from the main land, the Waiheke Island wines have roots from the French Rhone Valley. The Climate and soil conditions give its wines a tough environment to grow hence the yield is small but the quality is extraordinary. The little magical being’s collection grew in value with the addition of the Syrah of Waiheke. The sensitive red elixir finds a friend in this island and produces beautiful notes of black pepper from its exceptionally ripe pickings.

While the Central North Island Region provides decent wines such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc for whites and Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends for reds, the Gisborne region provides to the collection delightful boutique wines such as rich, aromatic and lush Chardonnays bursting with fruit, to light and crisp Sauvignon Blanc with zesty and herbaceous notes, to the well textured and highly aromatic Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris, and finally the fleshy and flavoursome Merlot in the reds.

Going east in his travels up north, the little being landed in the region of Hawke’s Bay. The Art Deco culture created a festive environment all throughout the year which the hobbit loved. The region’s magnificent collection of red blends of Bordeaux style Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, elegant Syrahs with perfumed aromas and supple tannin left lingering notes of spices on the pallet. In whites, the Chardonnay flagship the variety with intense and complex flavours and signature characteristics of full body richness. In close pairing, the Pinot Gris provides the pallet with aromatic, spicy and bold flavours.

Coming to the end of his travels in the northern regions of Middle Earth, the little being came to the region of Wairarapa. The boutique region of glistening waters provided him with aromatic wines ranging from the flagship red, Pinot Noir with its warm, rich flavours and an under taste of savoury to its perfumed yet mildly spicy Syrah. In whites, the land offers its potent aromatics of Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewurztraminer with its late harvest and botrytis styles.

As it got too dark to read, it was time to rest and start afresh the other day. Johnny’s night had just started. Dreams of the magical land of Middle Earth and its beautiful elixirs of wine were flowing like rivers in his mind. He still had much more to read. Thinking about them, he floated away into deep sleep…..

To be continued…

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


Story contributed by Chirag Arora