WSET Level 3 Revision | New Zealand
- Cool maritime climate excl. Central Otago where there is a dry continental climate
- High diurnal range
- Generally cool but North warmer vs. South with north of North Island (Auckland) sub-tropical (23C avg temp in Jan)
- Latitude comparison w Morocco and Bordeaux made irrelevant by maritime isolation.
- Rain can be a problem but most vineyards planted on the eastern side so protected from westerly winds & rain by central mountain range.
- Frost can also be a problem too (e.g. Marlborough in 2007), esp. in Spring & Autumn.
SOILS & TOPOGRAPHY
- Vineyards usually grown on flat or gently sloping land
- Varied soils; often fertile => can be overly fertile => excessive shoot and leaf growth => trellising and other canopy management techniques.
- Problems: Fungal diseases and birds.
- 2006: GI Registration Act based on the Australian GI program.
- 2007: Labelling laws state that wines must have 85% of variety, vintage and area stated on the label.
- Sauvignon Blanc: Flagship grape
- Pungent aromas, intense flavours of elderflower and passion fruit, and high acidity.
- Warmer North: tropical flavours
- South: higher acidity, green bell pepper and gooseberry
- Chardonnay: Concentrated citrus and tropical fruits with subtle hints of toast and sweet price from new French oak.
- Pinot Gris
- Pinot Noir:
- Widely grown throughout the South Island and within a few selected sites in the North Island.
- Vibrant fruit, fine ripe tannins, soft texture and often quite high levels of alcohol.
- Cabernet Sauvignon:
- Often blended to add tannin and notes of cassis, making up a Bordeaux-style blend => purity of fruit flavours.
- Strongly concentrated in the North Island due to warm temperatures => ripen black grapes.
- Performs best in warmer sites => elegant wines that are closer in style to those of the Rhône.
- Warm and the wettest part of NZ
- Fungal diseases
- Grape varieties: Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah
- Top wines from Waiheke Island.
- Rainfall is high (and temperatures and sunshine hours)
- Grape varieties: Chardonnay (rich tropical fruit flavours), Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris (full bodied)
- Hawke’s Bay
- Warmest of the main grape growing areas
- Longest sunshine hours
- Famous for Merlot and Cab Sauv in Bordeaux-style blends & Premium Syrah.
- High temperatures in summer
- Wide diurnal range
- Most important area is around the small town of Martinborough.
- Reputation for Pinot Noir (medium to full-bodied and ripe with hints of dark plum and spice).
- Major centre for grape growing in NZ
- Most of the vineyeards lie in two adjacent estuary valleys
- Similar climate to Marlborough with long sunny days
- Range of aspects and altitudes to work with
- Awatere Valley:
- Drier, cooler and windier => Sauv Blanc have a higher acidity with a pronounced herbaceous character and lack the tropical fruit flavours.
- Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are widely planted => sparkling wines
- Other varieties: Riesling and Pinot Gris.
- Cooler and wetter than Marlborough
- Grape varieties: Sauv Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.
- Two main centres of viticulture:
- West of the town of Christchurch
- Waipara Valley: less exposed to the ocean due to a range of hills.
- Cooling influence of the Pacific + Warming effect from north-westerly winds.
- Grape varieties: Sauv Blanc, Pinot Noir and Rieslling in Waipara.
- Two main centres of viticulture:
- Central Otago
- Located inland in the foothills of the Southern NZ Alps
- Climate: continental
- Frost damage is a real risk both in spring and autumn.
- Warm Summers
- Diurnal range: large
- High intensity of sunlight => high levels of alcohol
- Grape varieties: Pinot Noir (full bodied, juicy and vibrant with concentrated ripe red fruit flavours), Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay.
Source: WSET Level 3 Text book