I want to put New Zealand on the map as New World wines to watch. Previous to engaging with te Pa, I was sorely mistaken about the wines produced in this tiny country. Like many, I lumped NZ wines with neighboring Australian wines; like many, I assumed that overly fruit-forward white wines without body or texture were the norm; and like many, I came to these assumptions because of what the mass market puts in front of us on shelves and in restaurants. Let this not be the case and let te Pa make the case for New Zealand.
This family owned and operated New Zealand winery takes pride in the land they and their ancestors have called home for the past 800 years. Today, the te Pa range of wines includes some of the most solid and earthy Pinot Noirs and some of the most structured and textural Sauvignon Blancs. These adjectives are not often associated with NZ wine descriptions and yet here they are. And so, after tasting a few of the winery’s slightly “elevated” and “unusual” offerings, I’ve come to trust anything this family produces — even the most “consumer friendly,” or “un-fancy” of their wines. They just make good wine full stop.
About the Wine: The te Pa 2016 Sauvignon Blanc is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes sourced 77% from the MacDonald Family Home Vineyard in Wairau Valley and 23% from their Redwood Hills Awatere Vineyard, located in the Awatere Valley region, south of the Wairau Valley. The wine was fermented and aged 100% in stainless steel tanks.
Flavor Profile: Twist the cap off and become immediately immersed in a tropical paradise as the strong scent of pineapple surrounds you. On the pour and in the glass, the te Pa 2016 Sauvignon Blanc is a light, iridescent shade of yellow, reminiscent of the morning sun gently permeating your bedroom window.
Aromas further enhance that tropical paradise morning dream with scents of passion fruit, guava, fresh cut grass, lemon pith, and pollen. On the palate you can add to this fruit salad a strong dose of grapefruit and the watery subtlety of watermelon. But despite this seemingly overwhelming list of fruits, the te Pa Sauvignon Blanc is bone dry from start to finish. It’s crisp, refreshing, and if you keep it chilled (which you definitely should), there’s a fun effervescence that’ll hit the perimeter of the tongue about 1/4 of the way through the taste and linger long after for a most salivating finish.
Food Pairing: I paired the te Pa 2016 Sauvignon Blanc with a chicken and cheese quesadilla. This pairing was perfect. The dryness combined with the crisp refreshing quality — not to mention that bubbly effervescence — perfectly cut through the fat and oils of the cheeses and the doughy-ness of the flour tortillas. This is a must-have for a mid-week meal pairing.
More Info: You can read more about the te Pa family winery, its history, and other recommended te Pa wines by reading my previous te Pa Wines reviews.
I received the te Pa 2016 Sauvignon Blanc as a sample for review. (Cheers, Mikela!) For more information about te Pa Wines, including your local retail price, please visit the te Pa Wines website.
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