Marlborough, Alsace

When most people think of New Zealand wine, the first thing that comes to mind will be Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. This one variety more than any other helped springboard New Zealand on to the world-wine scene.

The region is located on the northern end of the south island, nestled around the town of Blenheim, and for many years was a sheep region. It was Montana wines, who in 1973 planted the first vines in the region “too far south to grow good wine.” At the time the region was the southernmost region in the country, but nowadays Central Otago takes south to a whole new level.

Plenty of sunshine hours, relatively low rainfall and cool temperatures provide the perfect conditions for growing world-class Sauvignon Blanc the region is renowned for. Other whites grown include Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Sparkling wines. Pinot Noir dominates the red varieties grown, though is typically lighter bodied than Central Otago or Martinborough Pinots.
The Alsace wine region is in the north-east of France and borders Germany. Although the region only accounts for 2% of France's vineyards it is responsible for producing some of the worlds finest white wines. Perhaps because of its Germanic influence, it is the only Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée region in France to produce mostly varietally labelled wines. In other words it is the only region in France where you're likely to see Pinot Gris, or Riesling denoted on the wine label. Another interesting note is that the region is the birthplace of biodynamic viticulture and the region still has the country's highest proportion of biodynamic producers.

Alsace gets plenty of sunshine hours, with a deep continental climate and superb meso-climate created by the sheltering presence of the Vosges Mountains. This allows the full spectrum of aromatic flavours to show in the grapes. The soils are quite diverse, with 13 different soil types in all.

The noble grapes of Alsace are Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner, Muscat Ottonel and Muscat d'Alsace in the whites, and Pinot Noir in the reds. Recent decades have seen an increase in Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir plantings, while the classical Sylvaner grape is on the decline.

Wines are produced under three different appelations or AOCs:
  • - Alsace AOC: must be made from one of the 8 permitted grape varieties in the appellation (white, rosé and red wines)
  • - Alsace Grand Cru: Introduced in 1983, currently recognising 50 Grand Cru sites. It is the pinnacle of Alsace, where topography, aspect and soil type must be in harmony along with a track record of producing excellent wines.
  • - Crémant d'Alsace: Appelation for sparkling wines, that can be both dry or sweet.

High quality liquers and spirits are also made in Alsace by producers such as Bertrand and Vedrenne.
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  1. Spinning Top Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2020
    Spinning Top Wines reflect the simple pleasures that can be derived from nature. Sourcing the wines from three distinctive Marlborough sub regions (Waihopai, Wairau, Awatere) allows Spinning Top to pinpoint exactly the precise characteristics they wish to reflect. Clean, joyful ... Learn More
  2. Kopu Gisbourne Pinot Gris 2021
    Grapes for this wine were grown in the Ngatapa Valley region of Gisborne district where dry-farming practices have been employed for over 75 years. Post-harvest the grapes and juice were processed with care to maximise fruit flavour and intensity. The resulting ... Learn More
  3. Kopu Gisbourne Pinot Gris 2020
    Grapes for this wine were grown in the Ngatapa Valley region of Gisborne district where dry-farming practices have been employed for over 75 years. Post-harvest the grapes and juice were processed with care to maximise fruit flavour and intensity. The resulting ... Learn More
  4. Black Cottage Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2021
    This Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from lower-yielding vineyards on the hillside slopes for greater intensity and whole bunch pressed. The nose is fresh and delicate with restrained aromas of gooseberry and freshly grown grass given complexity by river-stone and white ... Learn More
  5. Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2021
    Always up there as the finest 2 or 3 Sauvignons in Marlborough every year, Greywacke emphasise ripeness in the vineyard to produce a sophisticated and satisfying style of Sauvignon Blanc. Crafted by former Cloudy Bay founding winemaker Kevin Judd, with able assistance ... Learn More
  6. Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc 2020
    Considered to be one of New Zealand's finest producers, Astrolabe have built their reputation on consistently producing exceptional wines. One of my favourite Astrolabe wines is the 2019 Astrolabe Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc. It’s quite a ripe example of the ... Learn More
    pts
    Bob Campbell MW
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    Cameron Douglas MS
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    Michael Cooper
  7. Te Whare Ra Pinot Gris 2020
    Lifted aromas of nashi pear, raspberry, red apple and white florals. The nose follows through to the palate with the same flavours along with savoury undertones which are balanced by fine, supple texture and lingering minerality. Enjoyable to drink now ... Learn More
  8. Te Whare Ra Sauvignon Blanc 2020
    Shows distinctive Awatere characters of elderflower, guava, white currant, lemongrass and passion fruit coupled with lovely ripe tropicals and hints of basil and lime from Wairau components. The nose follows through to the palate - which is fine and soft ... Learn More
  9. Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2020
    Classic strong citrus characters with lemon and grapefruit prominent, complimented by elderflowers, with smoky and flinty undertones. A juicy and vibrant palate of pure citrus flavours leaving a lengthy finish with refreshing, balanced acidity. Ideally enjoyed as a young wine, ... Learn More
    pts
    Mike Bennie
  10. Black Cottage Pinot Noir 2020
    Sourced from the Southern Valleys with some fruit from the Awatere Valley. This Pinot Noir went through 100% stainless steel fermentation and was hand plunged. This brought out the perfumed berry fruit as well as increasing the silky mouthfeel of the ... Learn More
  11. Te Whare Ra Single Vineyard 5182 Toru 2021
    Has the aromatic spice and weight of Gewurztraminer, the structure and length of Riesling, and the great texture of Pinot Gris in a perfectly balanced 75%/16%/9% blend. It is a delicious, co-fermented field blend from a single vineyard. This 2021 Toru has ... Learn More
    pts
    Cameron Douglas MS
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    Bob Campbell MW
  12. Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2021
    2021 was one of the best vintages in the Wairau Valley in recent years and this wine truly reflects that. Vibrant, fresh lemon and grapefruit, ripe stone and tropical fruits and a floral element on the nose. Highly aromatic, as is ... Learn More
  13. Corafin 'Meltwater' Marlborough Chardonnay 2019
    A rather hedonistic nose suggests ripe pears, fresh peach and oatmeal while the palate is taught and chalky with nectarine, pear and iodine notes and a driven freshness. Unmistakably Marlborough for its cleansing hit of salty goodness, this is harmonious, ... Learn More
  14. Greywacke Riesling 2019
    A deliciously succulent and rich Riesling from experts in classic Marlborough varietals. Grown organically near the mouth of Brancott Valley, this vibrant and not strictly dry Riesling was grown on the kind of gravel and clay soils that are usually ... Learn More
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    Huon Hooke
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    Bob Campbell MW
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    James Suckling
  15. Dog Point 'Section 94' Sauvignon Blanc 2015
    Section 94 is one of the world’s most distinct wines, and regularly named New Zealand’s greatest Sauvignon Blanc. Bright straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, lighter on edge. The bouquet is firmly concentrated with deep aromas of greengages, nectarines ... Learn More
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    Raymond Chan Wine Reviews
  16. Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2021
    Intense and quite weighty sauvignon blanc with passionfruit, lime zest, gooseberry, red and green capsicum and subtle oyster-shell flavours, supported by deliciously tangy acidity that drives a lengthy finish. - Bob Campbell Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay was one of the ... Learn More
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    Bob Campbell MW
  17. Cloudy Bay Pelorus Sparkling Nv
    Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay was one of the first five wine makers to venture into Marlborough. The famed Marlborough producer's sparkling. It's one of the best consistently from over the ditch and has genuine French-like class. Sourcing Non-Vintage sparkling wine ... Learn More
  18. Trimbach Riesling 2017
    2016 in Alsace is considered a great Riesling vintage. Dry, fresh, elegant and well structured, it has a developed nose showing lemon and lime, with mineral tones. The palate has nice ripe fruit. White peach, quince, grapefruit and lemon with lovely ... Learn More
  19. Dog Point Pinot Noir 2019
    Dog Point Pinot Noir is one of the icons of Marlborough and for good reason. Winemakers Ivan and James first began their journey in the NZ wine game by starting globally-acclaimed winery Cloudy Bay. They are maestro’s at producing ... Learn More
    pts
    Bob Campbell MW
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    Huon Hooke
  20. Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc 2018
    A ripe tropical and citrus bouquet, with underlying flinty minerality. In the mouth the wine is textural and rich from the lees aging with layers of minerals, lime, orange blossom and profound acidity balancing this dry, elegant wine. Ageing potential: 5 ... Learn More
  21. Trimbach Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives 2015 375ml
    A gewurztraminer masterpiece! Smells like walking through a tropical garden at dawn. On the palate, it is creamy and elegant at the same time. With just enough sweetness to fit into this category and just enough acidity to make the ... Learn More
  22. Trimbach 'Clos Ste Hune' Riesling 2016
    98pts James Suckling 98+pts Vinous Media 19/20 Jancis Robinson MW Clos Ste Hune has been in production for nearly 100 years, sourced from vines in the Rosacker Grand Cru of Hunawihr. Vine age averages at 50 years, with the oldest being 70 years old. ... Learn More
    pts
    Ian D'Agata
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    James Suckling
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    Jancis Robinson MW
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