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Celebrating National White Wine Day

  • by Mikela Dennison

August 4th is National White Wine Day, and we couldn't be more excited to celebrate especially given we've recently been shortlisted for the White Wine Producer of the Year trophy at the IWSC! 

Let's take a journey through the top white wines, with a little info on each varietal, key tasting notes, and some handy food pairing suggestions. 

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Sauvignon Blanc: Light, bright, zesty, herbaceous and instantly refreshing, Sauvignon Blanc is what put New Zealand wine on the world map. Known for its distinctive aromatics and notes of gooseberry, fresh cut grass, tomato leaf, green capsicum, lemon pith, through to more tropical notes like passionfruit and guava. Our estate-grown te Pa Sauvignon Blanc leans towards tropical expressions of passionfruit, guava and papaya from our Lower Wairau Valley estate, while fresh bright green and mineral notes shine through from our Awatere Valley 'Redwood Hills' estate.

Food matching is a breeze for Sauv, with happy companions being seafood (we love Sauv with clams, oysters, fresh white fish, sashimi) to seasonal salads, and goat's cheese (our favourite cheese pairing for Sauv is cherve). 

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Pinot Gris: Another white wine that falls in the light and zesty category, Pinot Gris (or Pinot Grigio as it is also known) boasts attractive spicy notes and flavours, with key characteristics being white peach, melon, nashi pear, jasmine and lemon zest. Pinot Gris can be dry or off dry (we produce a gorgeous dry Pinot Gris). 

For food pairings, Pinot Gris is naturally at home with spicy foods and Asian fare like Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Malaysian and Chinese. Due to its medium-high acid levels, it's also great with rich dishes such as scallops, pork and chicken. Savoury dishes that feature fruit like apricot, peach, lemon or orange are also natural partners for the fruity Pinot Gris. 

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Chardonnay: Bold and dry, Chardonnay is one of the most popular white wines in the world. Sometimes referred to as the 'red wine of white wines' due to the fact it is (most often) aged in barrel and goes through malolactic fermentation, Chardonnay is a bold, powerful expression of white wine. 

It's considered a 'winemaker's wine', because the grape varietal itself is relatively neutral in flavour, so it's something of a blank canvas. Winemaking techniques include balancing the use of new and old (seasoned) oak barrels for fermentation and ageing, to the degree of malolactic fermentation (the chemical process that turns malic acid into lactic acid - think tart to creamy), and even techniques such as lees stirring to create more texture and complexity. Depending on how it's made, Chardonnay flavours can range from fresh pineapple and apple, through to vanilla, butter, toast, almond and delicious smoky notes. Our trophy-winning te Pa Chardonnay offers all of those classic notes plus an intriguing flinty, struck match characteristic that we love.

Chardonnay loves food. Luxurious dishes are perfect with a bold, complex Chardonnay. Think mushroom risotto with a shaving of fresh truffle, crayfish / lobster or scampi served with garlic butter and herbs (our favourite pairing), pork dishes, and even a creamy carbonara loaded with bacon. Creamy brie-style cheeses also work a treat, enhancing the creamy, rich characters of the Chardonnay.

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Riesling: Light and sweet, Riesling is a special wine that boasts more variety in terms of sugar levels than any other white wine. Ranging from bone dry to dessert style, Riesling is all about the balance between sweetness and its naturally high levels of acidity. Our te Pa Riesling is a dry - off dry style, with around 12 grams of residual sugar per litre. Flavours range from lime, green apple, beeswax and jasmine, through to outstanding examples that boast complex notes of petroleum. 

Riesling shares similar food pairings to Pinot Gris, so you can pair a dry Riesling with Asian dishes and spicy fare. It's also a fan of shell fish like prawn and crab, as well as bacon, pork, and even duck. 

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These are the four main white wines we produce, but there are also tonnes of other fantastic white wines you can seek out to try, including Albarino, Aligote, Gerwurtzramminer, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, Anais, Vinho Verde, Semillon, Piquepoul, and Viognier - to name just a few! 

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