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Wonderful Waipara – NZ’s best kept secret

Waipara?  Somewhere near north Canterbury  isn’t it? Yes it is, and if you want to get into some fantastic wines, you should know more about it.

Sitting up straight?  Corkscrew in hand?  Glass at the ready?  Thirsty?  Okay, relax.  I am your guide. I tend to think of Waipara as one of New Zealand’s orphan wine regions. Perhaps, along with west Auckland’s historic Kumeu, and north Auckland’s boutique Matakana, it’s possibly one of the most underrated wine producing areas in NZ.

Everybody knows, and loves the high-profile regions. But Waipara, like the others, tends to get overshadowed in spite of the fact that it produces some gorgeous wines, albeit with less than 5% of NZ’s total grape production.

Here’s a selection form a recent trip to the south.

Waipara Springs Waipara Valley Chardonnay 2016  $NZ 39
Aromas of peach and grapefruit, crisp and fruity with mandarin and a hint of oaky toast. Nice medium-bodied style . Dry crisp finish.

Greystone Waipara Valley Gewürztraminer 2015 $NZ 31
Delicate floral citrus blossom aromas with a hint of yeast from ageing on yeast residue.
Just off-dry palate of ginger syrup and a hint of rosewater. Lengthy elegant and creamy finish at a fairly hefty 14.5% alcohol.
Availability: Fine Wine Delivery Co.

Greystone Waipara Valley Chardonnay 2016 $NZ 35
Grapefruit, vanilla and yeast on the nose. Opens up on the palate as a gorgeous voluptuous Marylin Monroe of a chardonnay. Rich, ripe and hugely seductive, and with potential. A creamy seamless palate of crème brûlée, nectarine, toasty vanilla and peach with a long finish. Stunning.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Aged Release Riesling 2008 $NZ 40
Wow. Fabulous wine. Rich, voluptuous and enchanting. This is the gateway wine to Rieslings. At ten years old, this wine is just hitting its straps with an unctuous palate of grapefruit, honey, beeswax, honeysuckle and apricot jam. At 12.5% alcohol it is just nudging dry, yet has a hint of botrytis to knock it in to serious after dinner wine territory to be accompanied by some fine cheeses.

Waipara Hills Soul Pinot Noir 2014 $NZ 27
Aromas of red berry fruit with some earthy, savoury notes. Light to medium style with blackberry, tamarillo and cherry and some leathery savoury characters. Firm tannins mean this one will last at least 5 years.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Aged Release Pinot Noir 2008 $NZ 65
From a ripe vintage, this wine is standing up very well for a 10 year-old. Garnet red with aromas of black cherry, with secondary gamey aromas of leather, cellar dust and vegemite. Opens up nicely as a complex wine with a sweet ripe cherry mid palate and lingering lengthy finish of liquorice and dark Ghana chocolate.

Phil runs the best wine tours in New Zealand and is very kind to animals

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