In many people’s opinion, France, Italy, and Spain are the connoisseurs in winemaking and introducing the world to wine culture. Except, we’re in the 21st century and literally every country has a special vineyard or local winery that’s flourishing. New Zealand, in particular, is home to the world-renowned Gimblett Gravels, Otago, North Canterbury, and Waiheke Island wine regions. And of course, we can’t forget about the famous Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. In this article, we’ll discuss some of our favourite locally produced Canterbury wines.
Canterbury vineyards benefit from the unusual climatic circumstances created by its surrounding glacial mountain ranges, which have a temperate climate that assists to cool the sea breezes while also protecting the region from strong weather systems and bringing water down from their snow-capped peaks. Until 1978, Canterbury, New Zealand's oldest city, had no commercial winemaking. The region's Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay wines have quickly earned a solid international reputation for their elegance and expressiveness. Additionally, there are currently over 75 Canterbury vineyards covering 1,200 hectares of the region, with visitors from all over the world seeking out the vineyards' lovely rural environment and good wine.
The beauty of Canterbury wines is that there’s something for every wine lover. Canterbury is one of New Zealand's greatest regions for Riesling and Pinot Noir. Despite its smaller size, the wine area offers a wide range of grape varietals that are both unique and high-quality. If you like wine, you'll find something here to satisfy your tastes.
Famous wine regions of Canterbury
The Wairarapa Valley sub-region, an hour from Christchurch, is one of the country's fastest growing. This region produces outstanding Rieslings. The surrounding hills protect the Wairarapa Valley from harsh weather and keep it warmer than other Canterbury wine districts.
Riesling and Pinot Noir varietals are predominately brewed on the vast meadows of the Canterbury Plains. The flat ground and volcanic basalt soils improves drainage and keeps the region cooler.
The Waitaki Valley sub-region has hot summers and long, dry autumns. Its unique climate allows grape varietals to develop high intensity, in flavour which is used to create more complex wines.
Famous wines of Canterbury
There is no getting away from Pinot Noir in Canterbury. The region’s climate and soils are optimal for producing top quality pinot noir characterised by theirblack cherry flavours and tobacco undertones that match well with meat dishes and grilled vegetables. Canterbury vineyards are also known for producing award-winning Riesling. Wines made from Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand's flagship grape variety, as well as other white grape varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, are also produced in the region.
Canterbury Wines you cannot miss from Wine Divine
Lone Goat's boutique vineyard, located on Canterbury's free-draining alluvial plains, creates exceptional traditional, handcrafted wines. Their low-yielding Chardonnay vineyards are reaching 25 years of age and are providing fruit with increased intensity and character depth. This wine is aged in French oak barrels for at least 12 months and then prepared with little intervention prior to bottling. Aromas of quince, white peach, and lemon zest pervade the wine. The broad, creamy palate is accented by earthy flavours, stone fruits, and vanilla undertones. Citrus mineralised acidity provides structure and a sense of refreshment.
With peach, mango, feijoa, and lemon zest notes in the beautifully elevated scent, this succulent Sauvignon Blanc is vibrant and delicious. It is a superb rich expression of the variety. The wine has a considerable amount of fruit richness and weight, which is excellently balanced by juicy acidity, and it has a long and delicious finish.
A classic North Canterbury summer, combined with a smaller than usual yield, allowed for the perfect maturation of this tiny crop. Accelerated ripening enabled a slightly earlier harvest than normal, and favourable autumn weather ensured that the grapes were gathered in pristine shape.
Main Divide’s Pinot Gris is an intense lemon shade, with an enticing scent of ripe peach, nashi pear, and lemon curd, underpinned by mixed spice, honeysuckle, and a hint of flint. The mouthfeel is smooth and mellow, complemented by modest sweetness and lively acidity, which sets the stage for an astonishingly long finish. Generous and flavorful, yet deftly handled.
North Canterbury is a picturesque wine region, famous for its exceptional Pinot Noir and Riesling Varietals. Its vast plains and stunning mountain peaks make Canterbury wineries perfect for wine tastings by tourists and Christchurch locals alike. The region is relatively young but has quickly grown into the fourth largest wine regions in New Zealand.
Wine Divine stocks a variety of Canterbury wine labels including Long Goat, From the Ashes and Main Divide and more. Check out our wide range of Christchurch and New Zealand wines on our online wine shop. We deliver wines right to your doorstep.