D’Amato & Szabo: Wine Thieves – Episode 29

Chardonnay & Pinot Noir: New Zealand

The world clearly loves New Zealand sauvignon blanc, but some industry insiders believe that pinot noir and chardonnay just might be the country’s best expressions. In this episode, the Wine Thieves speak to two of New Zealand’s legendary producers, also counted among the world’s best pinot and chard artists: Sherwyn Veldhuizen of Bell Hill in North Canterbury, and Blair Walter of Felton Road in Central Otago.
 
Did you know that Pinot Noir is New Zealand’s most widely planted red grape, accounting for 73% of plantings? Chardonnay is also the second most planted white grape, and while it can be found in just about every region from north of Auckland to the deep south, pinot is most at home in Wairarapa/Martinborough, Marlborough, Canterbury, and of course Central Otago where it takes up 80% of vineyards. We explore these regions in detail before delving further into everything you need to know about Kiwi pinot and chard, including a discussion about the special Kiwi pinot clone referred to as the Able grape, the gumboot clone or sometimes the Ata Rangi clone with a colourful backstory retold by Sara. 
 
John tries to get to the bottom of why more chardonnay isn’t planted in Central Otago and then goes hunting for limestone further north. We find out why New Zealand pinot noir has risen to fame in such a short time, and where to look for distinctive chardonnay, as well as why these two categories are worth watching closely. Join John and Sara as they trek across the islands, glass in hand, searching for free-draining soils, high diurnal shifts and heritage clones.
 
This episode was produced in partnership with New Zealand Winegrowers.