Marlborough, Margaret River

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.
Margaret River is the name of a river, town and key wine region. It is one of the younger viticultural regions in Australia, quickly gaining popularity for its world-class wine. Located 280km South of Perth in Western Australia, the first plantings were only made in 1967. The region has grown rapidly and is recognised as one of the great wine-producing regions of the world, with over 200 wineries in operation. Made up of predominantly boutique producers, with a number of big player wineries also, the region makes up only 3% of the Australian wine production, but commands over 20% of the premium wine market. The wineries in the region are vibrant, innovative and progressive in their approach to viticulture.

The Mediterranean style climate provides superior maritime growing conditions, with vines not affected by extreme summer and winter temperatures. The region is well known for producing outstanding red wines; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and to a lesser extent Shiraz, Tempranillo and Malbec. Both straight varietals and famous Bordeaux blends can be outstanding.

In the white wines, Chardonnays of great depth and character, and fresh Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends are the main varietals the region is famous for. Lesser quantities of Viognier, Riesling and Muscat are also produced.
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