It was a grand feeling holding both a golden ticket and a wine in a totally new region for me. I've not tasted anything from New Zealand before.
Quickly to the kitchen fridge and after 24 hours, popped and poured. A very minimal foam was poured with very very tiny bubbles. The color was striking --- i would dare call it white with a blush of pink. It certainly isn't rose, yet seemed more pink than some blanc de noirs i've had. I seem to prefer sparklers with some (or all...) red wine, so this was exciting!
On PnP the nose was full of apple and maybe some apricot with no yeastiness. Lots of the chardonnay peeking out with the crispness.
And we dig in to the taste -- it's nicely bright and apple-y, but buoyed by a fair amount of sweetness. From the distributor's spec sheet it shows 16g/L of residual sugar, so upper 'extra dry'. I started with the bottle wrapped in a wine chiller sleeve to keep it cold, and i think this was a mistake. When cold it was good, but pretty straightforward yet didn't have a long finish. Those tiny bubbles seemed to wash the palate too much. Once warmed up it started to get a much longer finish and added complexity, so keep it closer to cellar temp than refrigerator.
This bottle excels without food. Most of the time we were drinking it was without food. At one point we did try with some fresh cherries and it was great, so it would still pair well with some not-so-sweet fruit based desserts. Lately i've been in a Riesling kick, so i could see it being good with some spicy Thai flavors.
Overall, a good bottle of sparkler!