Located in New Zealand's Queenstown area, this modern home is the definition of contemporary grace. The five-bedroom home's plentiful amenities include a state-of-the-art theatre room, an indoor swimming pool, and a modern kitchen. Overlooking Lake Hayes, even though it seems like the ultimate secluded retreat, the home is close to the historic township of Arrowtown.
"The Sauvignon Blanc grape owes a lot to New Zealand," wine writer Eric Asimov once wrote. He's right: New Zealand winegrowers have a talent for balancing fruitiness and bracing acidity in every glass, leaving behind a crisp finish that often contrasts the heavy oakiness of that other white grape, Chardonnay. Plus, its producers often favor the screw cap, something that belies a greater philosophy about wine that I couldn't agree more with: it should be enjoyed anytime, anywhere, for any occasion.
I asked wine buyer Carlo Wismer of San Francisco's The Jug Shop to talk shop about one of the New World's most popular white wines. He offered his thoughts on what makes New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc so popular; see them when you keep reading.
Scoop Up Limited-Edition Artwork by Devendra Banhart, The Pixies, and Other Rockstar Recording Artists
In January and February, Auckland, New Zealand's Starkwhite Gallery held an exhibit called Art/Music/Alchemy featuring artwork from contemporary recording artists. From indie folk rocker Devendra Banhart to The Pixies drummer David Lovering, the artists left the stage for the page, contributing illustrations, watercolors, screenprints, and more for the show, and each has been produced in a limited-edition run of 25 prints. Art/Music/Alchemy may have closed its doors, but you can still purchase the prints online, however far from Down Under you are. Let's take a look at a few of my favorites.
I've had a longtime love affair with the wines of New Zealand, not only for their affordability, but also for their lack of pretension. From Babich to Kim Crawford, I've quaffed my share of Sauvignon Blanc from the famed Marlborough region, but at a trade tasting yesterday, I got my first taste of the area's fine Gewürztraminer.
There was only one Gewürzt on pour, a 2010 Spy Valley, but it's quality, not quantity, that counts. The creamy, soft, and highly aromatic wine nearly won me over before it hit my lips, arresting me with its intoxicating scent of soft garden roses, ripe peaches, and just-peeled lychees. In one word, it reminded me of Spring. And at just $20 retail, I could easily envision the white paired with my favorite Thai and Burmese takeout.
New Zealand isn't quite as known for its Gewürztraminer as it is for Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, but it's enjoyed some growth over the past several decades. Here's to hoping we see more of it stocked on wine shop shelves stateside. What's your favorite New Zealand white?
Somewhere in the world days are getting are longer, warmer, and sportier. For New Zealand, Spring means the annual race-horsing, hat-wearing Cup Day, which sounds a lot like the Kentucky Derby in the US. Above, women pose for the Wearable Art contest, because hay may be just for horses, but competition is not!
Time to move New Zealand over to the "healthy attitude toward sex" category! According to a small but telling survey, plenty of Kiwi women are down with the idea of a brothel targeted toward servicing, rather than employing, the fairer sex.
The survey polled women on what they look for in a man, in addition to whether they'd pay to have sex with one, in preparation for next Summer's opening of — you guessed it! — the world's first male brothel for women in Auckland. The gist? Most women would hang out in the brothel's bar, and a quarter of them would actually enlist the brothel's services. Also, almost all New Zealand women love cologne, and even more of them hate beards and mustaches.
Would you hang out in a man-brothel for ladies? And would you drop $240 for sex with one of its hired hands?
Feeling torn between an epic journey through lush landscapes and a rejuvenating stay in a clean, modern space? You might be able to have both. Wellington, New Zealand, is both a famous film-shooting location (Lord of the Rings and Avatar were both filmed there) and the nation’s capital with a bustling downtown. And now it's also known for housing the new 10-room boutique hotel Ohtel.
From the outside, Ohtel is an unassuming, four-story concrete building smack in the middle of Wellington’s Oriental Bay neighborhood, overlooking the marina and harbor. But once inside, prepare to be blown away by the hotel’s hip, comfortable atmosphere. Although every room shares a clean-lined but cozy midcentury modern aesthetic, each one features its own unique color palette, furnishings — by designers ranging from Arne Jacobsen to Charles and Ray Eames — and ceramics. The hotel also boasts solar water heaters, an infrared sauna, an on-site restaurant and bar, and an inviting open gas fire in the lobby. For more details and to take a tour of the retro space, keep reading.
We're already not enamored of beauty pageants, but this news is just ridiculous. Fifteen-year-old Kiwi Olivia O'Neil has been stripped of her Miss Teen Wanganui crown. Her offense? She dyed her hair from blond to dark brown. When the pageant organizer, Barbara Osborne, saw it, she asked, "Is that a wig? I hope it is. Don't give me heart failure."
Our plucky pageant queen declared that it was indeed her real hair color, and that if Osborne didn't approve, then beauty pageantry might not be the right world for her. That's when things got crazy, with Osborne saying, "Well, you better decide, miss. Hand over your crown with an attitude like that. I'm sure someone will step into your place with manners." So Olivia did just that, at which point the organizer told the teenager that she "would not go far in this world." (What a nice lady!) Do you think Olivia should have been able to keep her crown, or is hair dye a serious offense?
Lately, I haven't just been drinking a ton of New Zealand wines; I've also been learning a lot about them, too. At a recent wine tasting, I was taken by the aromatic whites and Pinot Noirs of Central Otago, a remote, barren, plains-swept region in the South Island that occupies a valley between the snow-capped mountain ranges where Lord of the Rings was filmed.
It's amongst the dry, high plains that the grapes of Peregrine are hand-harvested to produce wines such as a luscious 2007 Pinot Noir ($29). The silty soil allows for exceptional drainage, producing a Pinot that's Burgundian in style, yet even darker and more concentrated. I noted the wine was soft on the nose, with cherry up front, some red plum in the middle of the palate, and a supple finish. It's a reserve-quality bottle with an extremely reasonable price tag. Have you ever had a New Zealand Pinot Noir?
Aside from being obsessed with strawberries this month, I've also been on a roll with New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, from Kim Crawford to Babich and beyond. Curious to know more about the affordable, approachable wines produced by Kiwis, I attended a New Zealand tasting led by Jardinière sommelier Eugenio Jardim. I left not only with a determination to drink more Kiwi wines, but also to visit the mythical place where they are grown. I also left with a ton of trivia about the winegrowing regions! What do you know about this isolated wine region? Take our quiz to find out.Take the Quiz