Okay, have drunk my way up and down the country, and here’s my 2 cents:
– Marlborough sparkling wine is grossly under-appreciated. Traditionally produced, with chard/PN/PM grapes, this is a fine wine, worthy of any bubbly lovers attention.
– Marlborough Pinot Noir is tremendously underestimated within the country (Kiwis favour Otago PN) and elsewhere. It’s a lean drink, but there is a purity and subtlety well worth the thoughtful drinker’s attention. Also a bargain price.
– Chardonnay down here may be a better grape for the region than Sauvignon blanc. Mind you Chard lovers are few on the ground these days.
– The riesling was good but I prefer Canadian and Pacific NW versions.
-Likewise the gewurztraminer, although there are exceptions. (TRW winery, a biodynamic outfit.)
– there were reds outside the mainstream worth drinking but they are unlikely to show up in your market unless you live in Australia or maybe S. Asia.
– Dodson Street Bistro makes a really amazing barleywine, Renaissance that is available in California if you’re a beer drinker.
With many thanks to Jill and Brian for all their help.