Canterbury wine guide: Discover some of New Zealand’s finest Riseling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Canterbury is the closest wine growing region to the tourist town of Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island, which is defined by breathtakingly beautiful landscapes sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and snow peaked mountain backdrops.

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The Canterbury wine region can be divided into three distinct districts, of which the Waipara Valley is arguably the most important and one of the fastest growing viticulture areas in New Zealand – with over 75 wineries covering more than 1,200 hectares of vineyards.Commercial wine growing actually started in the Canterbury Plains south of the city in 1978 where the gently contoured landscape still encourages the production of some notable wines. Further south, the Waitaki Valley is the country’s newest wine sub-region with several styles there showing great promise.

Canterbury wine has garnered a respected reputation for its elegant and expressive Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling, while several other styles are also being produced here. We have created an overview of the best Canterbury wines to help you prepare for a visit:Canterbury has produced several award-winning Riesling wines, which remain outstanding value by comparison. The grapes ripen well to create aromatic wines that are high in alcohol content with a well-balanced acidity that ages gracefully. Riesling is considered as a good appetiser to begin a meal or as an accompaniment for desserts.

Pinot Noir is on course to become the most successful Canterbury wine, despite the challenges faced by wine makers in producing the finest vintages as this wine is prone to losing colour and flavour. It’s an elegant wine denoted by definite dark berry flavours and tobacco undertones, which relate particularly well to meat dishes.

Pinot Gris is perhaps the most appreciated Canterbury wine variety, which can generally be produced in two styles – Pinot Grigio is an Italian inspired, unoaked style with an almost saline quality that is perfect for seafood, while at the other end of the spectrum the wines are more weighty, oaked and complex with flavours of honey that suit pasta dishes.

 

Canterbury wine has garnered a respected reputation for its elegant and expressive Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling, while several other styles are also being produced here. We have created an overview of the best Canterbury wines to help you prepare for a visit:Canterbury has produced several award-winning Riesling wines, which remain outstanding value by comparison.

The cool climate of the Canterbury wine region lends itself to the production of Chardonnay, which a favourite among wine makers since different techniques instil different qualities in the wine. A good Chardonnay typically ages well and develops into a complex and interesting wine that can be taken with any main course.

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Canterbury wines also include sparkling varieties made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that are harvested early to retain their acidity before undergoing two fermentation processes to ensure its effervescence. Sparkling wines are part of any celebration and can be consumed before or after meals.

Sauvignon Blanc is one of New Zealand’s greatest exports and the styles from Canterbury bear grassy similarities with those from the award-winning region of Marlborough, while passion fruit, melon and citrus flavours abound. Most Sauvignon Blancs should be consumed within the first 18 months, and are typically served with entrees.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot red varietals are also successfully grown in Canterbury to a lesser extent, and often used together to create Bordeaux style blends.

At Wine Paths, our local experts in New Zealand can organise exclusive Canterbury wine tours, which include elaborate tastings, luxury stays, fine dining experiences and some unique activities.All of our tours can be tailor made to meet your exact specifications, ensuring every detail is taken care of so that you can relax and enjoy the experience. Contact us for more information and inspirational ideas before planning an unforgettable experience.

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