By Christopher Matthews
When considering “value wines” for holiday imbibing — highly drinkable wines with attractive price/quality ratios — New Zealand (NZ), especially its copious, often palate-rocking Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs (SB), deserves to be in the discussion.
About the size of California, NZ has only 4.5 million people, but it’s the world’s 13th largest producer of wine, the majority of it (mainly Sauvignon Blanc) geared to export. In fact, at a holiday reception the other day, I was speaking with a newly arrived New Zealand diplomat who expressed amazement not only at the number of NZ wines available in New York City wine shops (entire shelves of SB in some cases!), but also their bargain prices relative to the domestic NZ market. More often than not, I have a screw top NZ SB in my fridge for everyday drinking, based on the dependable quality at a fair price, like Brancott ($12.99) or Oyster Bay ($13.99), both of which are nationally distributed.
Another widely available label that needs to be the value conversation, however — and not just for SB — is Mud House.