Day of the Unicorn - A celebration of New Zealand Sparkling Wine


Bubbles, well it's just one of those words you can't say without smiling & who can resist a little cheer as the cork goes POP!

The gold standard as far as most of the world is concerned is Champagne, but to be a Champagne you must be made within the Champagne region in North West France in accordance with very strict rules. Considering Champagne is approximately the same size as the Waikato - that's a lot of kudos for a really small part of the world! If your sparkling wine come from absolutely ANYWHERE else in the world even if it is made to the exact same specification, well what you have there my friend, is a Sparkling Wine.

back home in New Zealand, we are pretty lucky to have some amazing sparkling wines to call our very own. The vast majority of them come from Marlborough as the cool climate suits the structure and acidity needed to make an elegant Sparkling Wine and let's be honest, the best Sparkling wines exude elegance. In NZ we make a lot of Sparkling wines that are called "Methode Traditionelle" which basically means it is made in the traditional method or style of Champagne. So to all intents and purposes you could call it a New Zealand Champagne (but you definietly can't say that or the people in Champagne get very upset, and so do their lawyers!)

When it comes to quality, how that works is if your wine doesn't have a year on it, that means it's an NV or "Non-Vintage" these are the sparkling wines that are made up of wines from several different years. It is done this way to ensure consistency of quality of wines - every NV release should taste the same as another from the same winery. If, however, your sparkling wine has a year on it, well that's something just a little bit more special as sparkling wines with vintages (years) on them are the best sparkling wines that winery can make and are only made on years that the vintage was exceptional and as a result more expensive. 

Bubbles can be an aperitif (the wine you serve before dinner) served by itself or with some canapes or it can also match with a  number of delicious foods - I cannot think of anything more magical than super fresh, unflavoured seafood and bubbles, like sashimi or natural oysters - amazing! However it has to be said that my all-time favourite match for bubbles is Fish and Chips - I know, I know, that sounds like madness but the clean crisp flavour of the sparkling wine is the ultimate match to the salty, oily deliciousness that is good old kiwi fish and chips. One of the most romantic dates I ever had was fish and chips and (vintaged - oooh) Champagne on the beach in Wellington. 

So why the day of the Unicorn? Well simply put, if unicorns were to have a signature drink, I'm pretty confident it would be bubbles or sparkles - aren't you? 

So let's take today to celebrate the wonderful world of NZ Bubbles, grab a bottle on your way home from work and remember to always - yes ALWAYS - serve your bubbles cold, like, properly cold. The ideal serving temperature is 6-8 degrees. 

Here are my picks for my favourite NZ Bubbles right now in three different styles Rosé, Blanc de Blanc & Brut Methode Traditionelle:


Why is it that every time I find a wine I love - particularly a Rosé - I find out that it's been made by Marlborough based winemaker Dave Clouston?? Seriously the man is a wunderkind.

This Snapper Rock Sparkling Rosé is made from 100% Marlborough Pinot Noir grapes and has a full nose of strawberry & roses. A seriously delicious & exciting wine which is surprising drier than I thought it would be for all its fruity pinkness and is available for only $25. If this wine could speak it would say "have fun".

I think gal pal unicorns would have this on summers day over lunch with their bestest gal friends. 

The No. 1 Family Estate Cuvée is made from 100% Chardonnay which makes it a Blanc de Blancs. I personally love Blanc de Blanc as it is a drier style of sparkling which appeals to my taste buds. Made by iconic Kiwi Winemaker Daniel Le Brun this was the very first wine they made at No. 1 Family Estate and it is the perfect balance of fruity yet toasty - definitely the right combination in a great bubbles. Everything about this wine from the minimalistic bottle with curves in all the right places to the smooth taste & delicious finish screams elegance & is widely available at liquor stores for $36.

I think Unicorn couples would drink this on Valentine's Day to celebrate their unicorn love. 


Well, it would be rude not to throw in vintaged Sparkling Wine - wouldn't it? From all the way down in Bannockburn, Central Otago the Akarua Methode Traditionelle 2011 is made in the traditional Champagne method & as it turns out 2011 was a year worthy of putting on the label. This sparkling wine was aged for 3 years before release which means it continues to age beautifully in the bottle since its release in 2014. 

The vines the grapes for this wine originate from are 16 years old & you can tell this wine's quality by its delicate complexity, it's peachy & fresh & toasty & so delicious & incredible value for money at $45 (available widely) 

I think Unicorn Brides & Grooms would serve the Akarua Vintage Brut Methode Traditionelle 2011 at their wedding. 

For more information on Day of the Unicorn head on over to the good peeps at SipNZ