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 Filed as : Regional SpotlightAustriaNew Zealand

Whose Whites Win?

Mar 24, 2011
Whose Whites Win?
The Kiwis, Aussies and South Africans battle it out.

wine glassesSince you're probably absorbed in March Madness, you're likely unaware that an equally exciting sporting event is occurring in India: The 2011 Cricket World Cup. The teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have all made the quarterfinals.

Wine-drinking sports fans from all three countries agree that a chilled white is essential for watching an entire 10-hour cricket match. But which of the three nations makes the best white wines?

New Zealand obviously has its signature wine, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. But the country also shows plenty of prowess with Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer. Together, these varieties account for 70% of New Zealand's grapevines.

While Australia is best known for Shiraz, right now the country is making the best Chardonnay it ever has, particularly from the Mornington Peninsula and Margaret River (Leeuwin Estate is the gold standard). But the Clare and Eden Valleys also produce some exceptional Rieslings--and Viognier and Verdelho (a Portuguese variety) are gaining popularity as well.

When it comes to South Africa, we almost never turn down a glass of Chenin Blanc from Stellenbosch. But there are also some excellent Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs--that taste as fresh and vibrant as the Kiwi versions--that shouldn't be skipped when you see them in a wine shop.

So we leave it to you. As Australia, New Zealand and South Africa battle for supremacy in a strange sport, tell us which country makes your favorite white wines and why.

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