Have a toast with Master of Wine Jeannie Cho Lee

Dec 5, 2016

In the first of a quarterly series, Master of Wine Jeannie Cho Lee discusses New Zealand’s rise as a world-class grape-growing region – and one of its best drops served onboard Singapore Airlines.

60475037 - vineyard, north island, new zealand

Ask any sommelier to replace or remove New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from the wine list and they will likely look aghast at the suggestion. The wine is so popular with both consumers and the wine trade, it has become a permanent fixture in restaurants and bars around the world. How did a country, near the southern tip of the Pacific Ocean, obtain such success in around 30 years?

New Zealand is blessed with a combination of wonderful sunlight and cool climate conditions. These contribute to a wine’s freshness, lifted aromatics, along with vibrant fruity flavours that jump out of the glass. The country began exporting its zingy, limey and grassy Sauvignon Blanc in the early 1990s and took the world by storm.

At the forefront of the country’s success is Cloudy Bay, a winery that encapsulates everything New Zealand has been able to achieve. Cloudy Bay’s Sauvignon Blanc has consistently earned its place in Singapore Airline’s first class wine programme for many years. However, my fellow Singapore Airlines wine consultants Oz Clarke, Michael Hill Smith and I were thrilled to find Cloudy Bay hitting another jackpot with its Pinot Noir, during a recent blind tasting.

The 2014 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir is another quality jump up from previous vintages, offering bright, lifted cherry and strawberry flavours with fresh acidity. This versatile red works with spicy or pungent dishes because of its vibrancy and lighter tannin structure, cleansing between bites of flavourful food. The wine works well with poultry and other white meat-based dishes, as well as seafood, because of its light tannin structure and medium body.

This delicious wine can be enjoyed on Singapore Airline’s Australia and New Zealand flights until the end of this year.