Sparkling, Central Otago, Marlborough
Heavy mineral deposits in silt loams are typical for the soils in Central Otago, but is unlike any other region in New Zealand. The Otago region is the countries only ‘continental’ wine growing region.
Pinot Noir is the flagship red varietal, which is very well suited to the regions large diurnal shifts (a large diurnal shift means a big difference between low and high temperatures) and also the regions long, cool and dry autumn. The Pinot Noirs coming out of the Otago region are most often fragrant, lush Pinot Noirs with silky textures and true fruit intensity.
Aromatic whites also thrive, in particular Riesling where anything from bone-dry to very sweet can be made. Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and lesser amounts of Chardonnay is also made to a very high quality. Central Otago is in Jancis Robinson’s top five New World wine producing regions.
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.
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