by Fred McMillin
for December 28, 1998


From the Land of the Kiwi

New Zealand's unique, hen-like bird, the kiwi, can't fly, but its Chardonnay certainly can, particularly those from the Gisborne district on the North Island. Listen to the critics.

The Wine Spectator's Thomas Matthews: The Chardonnay grape makes New Zealand's best wine... [I tasted] a notable bottle from Gisborne.

The New York Times' Frank Prial: I particularly enjoyed a Gisborne Chardonnay with characteristic New Zealand acid and good body.

Master of Wine Jancis Robinson: Compared to the world-famous Sauvignon Blanc, the Chardonnays have more interest. their most publicized region is Gisborne.

Thanks to Seagram, a fine Gisborne Chardonnay has arrived on American shores. Here it is.

The Wine

Brancott Vineyards 1997 Reserve Chardonnay, Gisborne District, Brancott Winery, New Zealand
Importer: Seagram Chateau & Estate Wines Co.
Contacts: In New York, Greg Crone at (212) 572-7573, FAX (212) 572-1280. In California, Angela Freire at (707) 255-7667.
Rating: Clean and crisp. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by my panel.
Price: $15 range

The Future

New Zealand consists primarily of two large islands, the North Island (Gisborne's there) and the even-chillier South Island. It is the southern-most serious winemaking region in the world, with enormous, cool-climate, pollution-free potential. The U.S.A. is not unaware of all this; our 1997 imports shot up 170% over the previous year. Fasten your seat belts. This is going to be fun.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.



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