New Zealand Red Wines are intense, expressive, complex, and powerful. There are three main blends found in New Zealand red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Merlot. Others, such as Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc are made here, although it is much less often. After the Hawkes Bay experienced success in the 1960s from McWilliams, and then again in the 1980s with Te Mata Estate, Red Wine production in New Zealand began to flourish. As techniques were developed and adapted for New Zealand’s climate, there was a rise in Merlot and Bordeaux-style grape planting that continues today.
The early production of reds such as Pinot noir was precarious in New Zealand due to its climate. However, after planting in the Central Otago region, the production of Pinot noir really took off. Many award winning Pinot noirs now come from this region, popular for its fruit-driven, forward, and early maturing in the bottle. New Zealand Pinot noirs are notable for their great complexity, with earthy and savory flavours. According to the Wine Encyclopedia, “New Zealand Pinot noir is rapidly developing its own distinctive style, often with deeper colour, purer fruit and higher alcohol… it is a testament to the skill and craft of New Zealand producers that poor examples are infrequently encountered.” New Zealand Red wine production is in high demand due to its distinctive flavour and quality.