The wine list: New Zealand's other All Blacks
New Zealand, although a relative newcomer to the world of wine production, has wines which have risen to international fame more rapidly than those from any other New World country outside Europe.
While some countries heavily discounted in order to survive, wine producers in New Zealand successfully maintained their prices to sustain standards.
New Zealand's cooler South Island is ideal for producing aromatic dry white wines and started planting vineyards in earnest for the export market as recently as 1973.
The warmer North Island's Hawke's Bay and Nelson is better suited for red wines' black grape varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah, with strong competition from Waiheke Island at the country's most northern and warmest tip near Auckland.
The outstanding wines which are featured on the page here are the best from a blind tasting of New Zealand's North Island reds. Some are from young vineyards planted as recently as a decade ago.
1) Syrah 2011, Dreadnought, Man O' War, Waiheke Island, 13.5pc
Meaty and savoury bouquet. An intense mineral palate of granite and iron supports ripe and juicy blackberry fruit in a velvety texture. Needs a hearty steak and kidney pie in rich gravy.
€35.49 at O'Brien's Wines nationwide.
2) Merlot 2013, Oyster Bay, Hawke's Bay, 13.5pc
Aromas of plum jam are echoed on the palate. A friendly and charming red with gentle tannins and ripe purple plum flavours. Good with a rare tuna steak.
€14.99 at Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Londis, O'Brien's Fine Wines and SuperValu nationwide.
3) Malbec 2013, Seigfried Estate, Nelson, 13pc
A very meaty scent continues on the palate with a satisfying and savoury bite. Match with a Beef Wellington.
€16.49 at Marks & Spencer nationwide
4) Syrah 2011, Quarter Acre, Rod McDonald Wines, Hawke's Bay, 13pc
Wafting warm and earthy notes. Lovely silky black pastille fruits linger long. Serve with duck breast and a black cherry sauce.
€22 at Marks & Spencer nationwide
5) Syrah 2009, Tinpot Hut, Hawke's Bay, 13.5pc
A mature and savoury bouquet. Intensely flavoured with blackberry compot and woody spice. Enjoy with Szechuan beef.
€25.99 at Cases Wine Warehouse, Galway; Wicklow Wine Company and Florrie's Fine Wines, Tramore. In Dublin: Clontarf Wines; Fallon & Byrne, Exchequer Street; Sweeney's, Glasnevin and thewineshop.ie
6) Syrah 2012, Trinity Hill, Gimblett Gravels, Hawke's Bay, 12.5pc
Subdued aromas but assertive palate of mineral and black tarry fruits supported by firm tannins. Try with steak and a black peppercorn creamy sauce.
€29.99 in Dublin at The Corkscrew, Chatham Street and Mitchell & Son, IFSC and Glasthule.