Good taste: Welcoming newcomers

By Rebecca Gibb

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2009 Petit Clos sauvignon blanc, by Clos Henri Marlborough, $19. Photo / Supplied
2009 Petit Clos sauvignon blanc, by Clos Henri Marlborough, $19. Photo / Supplied

Playing classical music when you are number 31 in the queue to speak to an immigration officer does nothing for your stress levels.

It's been five months since I applied for residency and they've just started processing it. I can't imagine how hard it is for those whose first language isn't English - yet that hasn't deterred many from setting up homes and businesses here.

The wine industry has welcomed plenty of newcomers to New Zealand. The first vineyard in Marlborough was planted by a Scotsman and, most recently, Hawkes Bay's Paritua Vineyard was purchased by a Milford-based Chinese investor, backed by shareholders in Shanghai, Beijing and Chicago.

China is getting a taste for fine red wine: five Bordeaux chateaux have been bought by Chinese firms in the past year.

Europeans and Americans have already made their mark on the country's wine scene. Dalmatians were pioneers, particularly around Auckland, founding wineries such as Villa Maria, Nobilo and Kumeu River.

Today, Marlborough's Fromm is Swiss-owned and nearby Clos Henri is very much a French venture. Austrians established Central Otago's Quartz Reef and Nelson's Seifried, the Schuberts said Auf Wiedersehen to Germany for a new life in Martinborough, and Americans are behind the artisanal Pyramid Valley and Craggy Range (mistakenly referred to as Shaggy Peak by a friend).

Attracted by New Zealand's freedom from rigid wine-making laws, this melange of cultures makes the country's wine scene richer and more exciting. Thank goodness they weren't put off by the immigration department's music.

2009 Petit Clos sauvignon blanc, by Clos Henri Marlborough ($19, Maison Vauron)
A gentle Marlborough savvy that doesn't jump out of the glass and whack you around the chops. Elderflower, passionfruit and wet stone combine with a ripe, but not searing, acidity making you want another glass. And that's not something you often get from $19 Marlborough wines. Allez les Francais!

2010 Schubert rosé, Martinborough ($25, Martinborough Wine Centre)
Made by German-born Kai Schubert, his latest rosé release is dry, poised and restrained. If you like a dollop of sugar in your rosé this ain't for you, but it remains one of my favourite rosé in New Zealand.

2007 Fromm Vineyard pinot noir, Marlborough ($64, Glengarry, Fine Wine Delivery Co, Scenic Cellars)
This Swiss-owned producer really surprised me with its top pinot noir. Unadulterated and delicate, it reminded me of the top wines of Rippon Estate and Mt Maude. It's kind of funky and has an offbeat smoky bacon and stilton nose, but that's what rings my bell. Ding dong!

- NZ Herald

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