Updated: Feb 12
New Zealand wine in Japan is a relatively new thing. If you go into your local restaurant you’ll be lucky if you find a bottle from New Zealand. Most people seem to think wine comes from France, maybe Italy, Spain, America and… some other places.
And everybody knows the best wine comes from France, don’t they?
Actually, New Zealand makes some of the best wine in the world. And when price comes into play, perhaps THE best wine in the world.
But do they really?
First things first. Personal preference is paramount. The best wine is the wine YOU like the most.
Having said that, let’s look at chardonnay. The chardonnay grape originated in Bourgogne (Burgundy) in France, and Bourgogne is still considered the benchmark of quality. You are almost guaranteed to find Grand Cru or Premier Cru Bourgogne on any list in the top swanky restaurants around the city.
So how do kiwi chardonnay match up against the best?
Funny you should ask.
Pretty good, actually.
At a tasting in London in 2018 New Zealand wines came in third and fourth. This tasting was completed blind, meaning the tasters didn’t know which wine was which.
And what about price? How does New Zealand compare to the best in France?
The wine from New Zealand that came third was twenty-five cheaper than the French wine that was voted first!
Let’s look another blind tasting, this time in Pasadena in 2011. This was a Pinot Noir tasting, another Burgundian grape variety, and the organisers collected bottles from all over the world. One of these bottles was valued at $5500US. Once all the votes were tallied the winner was an $80US bottle from Martinbourough in New Zealand.
From my own experience, in 2017 I was lucky enough to be invited to the very first Family of XII Wine Tutorial, where a small group of wine professionals tasted wines from New Zealand and around the world. When it came to the Pinot Noir phase, there were three of the twenty in front of me that I liked the most (it is interesting to note that many of the other sommeliers and Masters of Wine didn’t particularly like the same three). If I had to chose one, at the time it would have been the one in the middle, but they were all so good I know that I might chose a different one if I was to do the same tasting today.
The bottle I preferred was from Bourgogne, and it was roughly 100 times more expensive than the other two.
100 TIMES more expensive!
It’s true, I did like it more… but DEFINITELY not 100 times more. You could buy a case of wine, and a second-hand car to get you to the cellar door, and STILL have money left over if you bought the New Zealand wines!
So the truth is, New Zealand DOES make the best wine in the world!
…but so does France. And Australia. And Italy, Spain, the list goes on.
Luckily, for now, most of the world is unaware how good Kiwi wines are so the price performance is some of the best.
It wont stay that way for long!