Canterbury / Waipara
Relative newcomers, Canterbury and Waipara are now producing some stunning wines, all just a short drive outside Christchurch.
Sheltered by the Southern Alps in the West, the region experiences warm, long sunshine hour days in the summertime. Due to the low-lying flat plains, strong winds can sometimes be an issue; so many vineyards plant trees as windbreaks.
The soil here is important; it has similar chalky limestone deposits to Waitaki further south, and this soil has great affinity with Pinot Noir especially. The high calcium carbonate alluvial content gives the Waipara river a distinctive milky complexion. ‘Waipara’ in Te Reo Maori actually translates as ‘sediment’ or ‘muddy water’ also giving the name to the eponymous winery in the region.
The quality of the wines here is outstanding when compared to the prices you pay for the bottles. It’s perhaps one of New Zealand wine’s best kept secrets. Bob Campbell MW calls Waipara, ‘one of the unsung heroes of the wine industry.’ So grab yourself a bargain before the secret gets out.