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New Zealand Wine
New Zealand is one of the flavors of the month when it comes to wine. It's rather exciting for a country that produces less than one percent that the world's total production. Blame the influential international wine media who rave about the sensational Sauvignon Blancs and the perfect Pinot Noirs. It's not surprising that everyone wants to know more about the country that makes these palate-pleasing wines.
In terms of geography the three main islands - the North Island, the South Island and Stewart Island - rise out of the South Pacific Ocean along the boundary of the Indian-Australian and Pacific tectonic plates. Draw a rectangle bounded by the longitude coordinates 166° 15' in the west, 178° 45' in the east, and the southern latitude coordinates 34° in the north to 48° in the south and you'll find the spot.
Although a land of contrasts with a temperate maritime climate that's subtropical in the north and hard and barren in the deep south where fresh unused air blows straight off the South Pole, vineyards are found throughout the country.
Regions such as Hawkes Bay, Martinborough, Marlborough and Central Otago have world renown and take central stage in most articles or on tourist itineraries. Other long established regions include Auckland, Gisborne, Nelson, Canterbury and Waipara while vineyards fan out from Martinborugh into the greater Wairarapa. However New Zealand is such a young wine country and vineyards are planted almost everywhere with someone hoping to find the spot that will become the next vinous real estate pot of gold.
What does New Zealand do best? Undoubtably Sauvignon Blanc. "It's the uniqueness of our climate and soil," says Sauvignon Blanc expert, Dr Denis Dubourdieu of the University of Bordeaux. With excellent export propsects for uniquely flavored wine, it is the most planted wine grape variety, ahead of Chardonay and Pinot Noir.
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