Texture, spice and concentrated flavours are the stamped qualities of winegrowing in the Waipara Valley. The 2016 Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Gris is a firm prodigy of this, with its aromas of crisp red apple, quince, and a hint of nougat.

Waipara Hills winemaker Andrew Brown said the fruit that was sourced from the Home Block and Deans vineyards in the Waipara Valley are graced with deep, free draining Glasnevin gravels.

“These soils have great minerality, which enhances the rich and spicy characters of this Pinot Gris,” he said.

Like much of the country, there was some rain during harvest, but thanks to the warm and dry start to vintage, and the all-important North Canterbury sunshine glowing when it was most needed, the end result was a fantastic one.

The grapes were picked early in the mornings at the beginning of April, and pressed immediately to preserve flavour.

The ferment was stopped slightly early, leaving it nicely off dry, while the stirring of the lees post ferment helped to lift the yeasts to promote rich mouth feel and added creaminess – a hallmark of the Waipara Valley.

“The apple, pear and nougat flow nicely through the palate, finishing with a touch of ginger and crisp acidity,” said Brown.

This Pinot Gris is best served lightly chilled, a great drink for summer matched with Asian dishes such as mildly spiced Szechuan chicken. It may be enjoyed young and fresh, but will continue to build weight and complexity with age.