The oldest existing vineyard in New Zealand was established by French Roman Catholic missionaries at Mission Estate in Hawkís Bay in 1851, but winemaking didnít become an economic force until the late 1960s and early 1970s. New Zealand wines are becoming more and more popular, and the number of wineries has nearly doubled over the last 10 years to meet the growing demand. New Zealandís unique geographical characteristics provide it with amazing varieties for such a small country, from iconic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to emerging Pinot Noirs from the Marlborough region. Here are five of our favorite wines from New Zealand.Lobster Reef Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Named for the brightly colored rock lobster that live along the Marlborough coastline, this Sauvignon Blanc is wonderfully aromatic, with citrus, apple blossom and lime zest notes. Itís bright, lively and intensely flavored with tropical fruits Ė citrus, apple and peach Ė and yes, it pairs perfectly with fresh lobster or any other fresh seafood.Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
This wine is made by Jules Taylor, formerly the head winemaker at Kim Crawford. With a light lime color and aromas of grapefruit, gooseberry, honeysuckle and passion fruit, this Sauvignon Blancís complexity is matched by its finesse. The palate is full, weighty, juicy and mouth filling with a dry finish. Seared tuna and stir fried shrimp make ideal pairing partners.Villa Maria CELLAR SELECT Pinot Noir Marlborough
The 2008 Cellar Selection is a blend of selected vineyards in the Awatere and Wairau Valleys of Marlborough. Rich with ripe black cherry flavors and hints of raspberry, plum and spice, this full-bodied wine has a creamy texture and notes of dried herbs and flowers. Enjoy this elegant Pino Noir with smooth tannins and lively acidity that lingers on the finish.Mud House Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Presented with a Gold Medal and Best in Class award at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London, this wine has a pale straw color with bold tropical flavors. Grapefruit, honey melon and other passion fruit flavors leave you yearning for the tropics. Serve chilled with pan fried scallops and bacon and youíll be in heaven.Babich Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Made from the fruit of selected vineyards in Marlborough, this almost clear colored, intensely flavored Sauvignon Blanc is classic Babich style. Opening with a grapefruit and gooseberry bouquet, this wine is light-bodied, fresh and vibrantly tropical, with a dry and refreshing finish. The winemaker suggests pairing with seafood (think fresh oysters).