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A Guide to New Zealand’s 4 Most Popular Red Wines

Tue, Feb 14, 23

While New Zealand has produced many famous white wines, such as the world-renowned Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, it is their red wines that have been gaining traction recently in the world of fine wines. Lucky for us wine lovers across the globe, there are some amazing different varieties of red wine coming out of New Zealand that are truly delectable. Whether you’re looking to stock up at your local brick-and-mortar store, or putting together your wine online shopping order, we’ve got some great new varieties of New Zealand reds for you to add to your wine list!

Pinot Noir

Often seen as the gateway to red wine because of its lighter taste and versatility when it comes to food pairings, you definitely can’t go wrong with a classic Pinot Noir. The characteristic soft tannins make it easy to drink, and you’ll get some delicious undertones of plum, cherry, cranberry, black olives, and herbs. Commonly barreled in oak, the aroma often also incorporates hints of cedar. The Pinot Noir grape can be quite tricky to grow in New Zealand, so the wines themselves may be a bit pricier than your standard Pinot Noir, but they are definitely well worth the cost. You can pair Pinot Noirs well with salmon, lean meats like duck or lamb, mushroom dishes, and dishes made with lentils and chickpeas. 


While the French refer to this type of wine as Syrah, the Aussies refer to the wine produced by the same grape as a Shiraz. These wines are known for their spicy flavors, with hints of plum, cracked pepper, and blackberry. The wine is on the fruitier side, so it goes great with spicy food like Mexican or Indian, particularly if you’re eating a spicy chicken or curry. It’s also amazing with a cheese platter that has Gouda and cheddar, and vegetables like grilled eggplant or mushrooms. 

Cabernet Sauvignon

One of the most popular wines worldwide, the Cabernet Sauvignon is also commonly referred to as a Cab Sauv. These wines have a rich fruity flavor with undertones of blackcurrant and black cherry, with warm spices like pepper, vanilla, and licorice. Cabernet Sauvignon also generally has a higher alcohol content than most other red wines. This wine goes amazingly with red meat like steak as well as sausages, roast beef, portabella mushrooms, and eggplant. If you’re pairing it with cheese, make sure you choose the punchy and pungent ones rather than delicate ones, so the wine doesn’t overwhelm the taste!


Another great choice for people new to the world of red wine, Merlots are soft and fruity with a smooth texture. With a Merlot, you’ll get undertones of cherry and chocolate, and they’re often aged in oak barrels as well to contribute to a rich deep flavor. Also super versatile, Merlot goes great with classic Italian food, tomato-based casseroles and pasta, and roasted butternut squash and red peppers. 

Next time you do your wine online shopping order, check out the amazing selection of New Zealand reds we have at Rollers Wine & Spirits! With over 50 years of expertise in the beverage industry, we make sure to have the most delicious and up-to-date wines for your table. Take a look at our online or in-person locations today!

By Paige Lorberbaum