Robert Giorgione, a British-based wine writer, recently wrote on his blog about Waitaki wines, asking whether this small wine region in the middle of nowhere (as he puts it…) could be the next hot “cool” wine region to hit the international wine market. He reviews several of the local wine makers whom we have mentioned here in the past–Ostler, Kurow, Pasquale–and a few others, too, including Waitaki Braids (owned by famed NZ restaurateur Peter Gordon) and John Forrest, and discusses the challenges that they face, not the least being the climate, which can be cool and dry.
Perhaps because of these challenges, Giorgione writes that the Waitaki district produces particularly characterful wines, wines that have a true sense of place in the great tradition of the major European wines. Waitaki wines display great minerality (the terroir is especially limestone-y here, just like Burgundy), and because the growing conditions are challenging, Waitaki grapes are going to have more complexity than wines that are grown in more ‘luxurious’ conditions.
Unfortunately, Waitaki wines have yet to find broad distribution overseas, so unless you have a particularly good wine merchant near you, you’re more than likely going to have come here yourself to try these wines (and you won’t even see many of them elsewhere in New Zealand, so plan to add Kurow and nearby Oamaru to your holiday plans to be in on the ground floor of this up-and-coming new wine district!