New Zealand reds on the rise

A New Zealand red wine from Mission Estate Winery came out above Bordeaux’s first growths in a recent blind tasting.

In the tasting in Hong Kong, organised by the Independent Wine Centre, the Jewelstone Cabernet Merlot 2009, at under £25 a bottle, outperformed the likes of châteaux Latour, Lafite and Margaux and held it’s own against Mouton Rothschild and Haut-Brion, all of which have bottle prices in the hundreds.

Peter Holley, CEO of Mission Estate Winery, said for Jewelstone to “be mentioned amongst such iconic wines is staggering. This is a real success for our viticulture and winemaking teams.”

This is not the first strong performance from New Zealand in recent years, as an expert panel in a New Zealand v Bordeaux blind tasting held by Jancis Robinson MW in 2009 found great difficulty in distinguishing which were the 2005 Bordeaux first growths, with Trinity Hill’s The Gimblett being a star performer.

As a result of such tastings, the demand for New Zealand high-end red wine has soared.

“We have seen a surge in recognition and sales for (New Zealand) red wines, and, in particular, the Syrahs as well as the Bordeaux-style blends,” said David Cox, New Zealand Winegrower’s European director.

“Retailers and on-trade establishments around the UK are increasing the depth of distribution for New Zealand red wines and we are clearly not seen as a producer of just Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc,” he added.

For more on New Zealand’s red wines, see the August edition of the drinks business.

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