New Zealand of­fers taste of the un­ex­pected

Windsor Star - - WEEKEND REVIEW - CHRISTO­PHER WA­TERS Wa­ters & Wine Christo­pher Wa­ters is the co-founder and edi­tor of Vines, a na­tional con­sumer wine magazine.

A new la­bel is look­ing to show­case the di­ver­sity of New Zealand wines be­yond the ever-present Marl­bor­ough Sau­vi­gnon Blanc.

Left Field wines are cre­ated to show what the wine­mak­ing team calls “the weird and the won­der­ful.”

You might also call them a taste of the undis­cov­ered coun­try.

The new con­cept la­bel launches this month in Canada with the re­lease of the 2016 Sau­vi­gnon Blanc from Nel­son, a sunny spot on the South Is­land that de­liv­ers wines with more ripeness and con­cen­tra­tion than the clas­sic zesty and bright Marl­bor­ough Sau­vi­gnon Blanc style.

The Left Field lineup also in­cludes a Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris, Gis­borne Al­bar­iño and Hawke’s Bay Syrah.

The range’s Pinot Noir, Syrah and Rosé bot­tles are slated for lim­ited re­lease later this sum­mer.

A bou­tique op­er­a­tion owned by Villa Maria Es­tate, Te Awa is based in Hawke’s Bay, where it makes a smart range of pre­mium sin­gle vine­yard from its es­tate. Left Field is its more af­ford­able la­bel that sources grapes from around the coun­try.

Launch­ing a new wine is never easy, par­tic­u­larly in a mar­ket sat­u­rated with pop­u­lar es­tab­lished brands. Launch­ing a New Zealand Sau­vi­gnon Blanc poses an even big­ger chal­lenge when it comes from out­side the con­ven­tional grow­ing area.

How­ever, it’s a risk worth tak­ing.

If the au­di­ence for Sau­vi­gnon Blanc from New Zealand isn’t ready to try some­thing dif­fer­ent now, then when?

Cer­tainly the con­tin­ued suc­cess for the pop­u­lar Matua brand’s Sau­vi­gnon Blanc from Hawke’s Bay sug­gests that Cana­di­ans are open to new taste sen­sa­tions com­ing from vine­yards out­side of Marl­bor­ough.

Plus a dy­namic new bot­tle on the shelf might be just the thing to at­tract at­ten­tion back to the New Zealand sec­tion for those that wan­dered off in search of some­thing new and ex­cit­ing.

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