Marlborough, Clare Valley

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.
Located 120km north of Adelaide, Clare Valley is one of the oldest wine regions in Australia. The region is set on softly undulating hills covering a length of some 35km and ranges from 5 to 10km in width. In fact, Clare Valley is also one of mainland Australia's coolest wine growing regions.

The five subregions of Clare Valley are - Sevenhill, Clare, Watervale, Polish Hill and Auburn, each influenced by the interweaving creeks and valleys and each with its unique soil types, climate and altitude. Throughout the region, the moderately continental climate, with its cool to cold nights and warm to hot summer days are ideal for producing its most important white, Riesling.

Whilst Riesling is no doubt the king white grape for the region, very elegant Shiraz with soft palates and Cabernet Sauvignons are produced there too. Lesser amounts of Sémillon are grown, though Grenache and blends like Shiraz/Cabernet or Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec can also be deliciously smooth and textural.

Grosset produces arguably Australia's finest Rieslings from his Clare Valley Winery. Atlas and Leo Buring too create nice Rieslings.
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