Wine: Of apples, heroes and diamonds

By Yvonne Lorkin

Twenty years ago pinot gris wasn’t even a thing. Today it’s a national obsession. These three lean on the dry side of the fence…

Fairhall Downs Single Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Gris 2016 $23.95

Smelling this wine is like walking into an apple packhouse. Intoxicating waves of golden delicious, gala and rose assail the olfactories and, once they wash across the taste buds, a ribbon of nashi, nectarine and white pepper wraps them all up and sends them south in a tsunami of dry, softly prickly acidity and powdery textural layers.

Sip with: slivers of salty prosciutto.

Mills Reef Reserve Hawke's Bay Pinot Gris 2016 $24.95

Tim Preston and Paul Dawick are like the Batman and Robin, the Han Solo and Chewbacca, the Spongebob and Patrick (modern parent reference there) of winemaking duos, leaping into every wine adventure with gusto, and this gris is testament to that. Enjoy its aromas of poached quince, pear and apple followed by a deliciously dry, crisp, white peach and mineral-edged finish.

Sip with: classic butter chicken.

Haythornthwaite Ursula Martinborough Pinot Gris 2012 $25

Don't freak out if when you pull the cork (yes, you'll need one of those cork-pully-outy things) and you see tiny crystals attached to it. These "wine diamonds" are safe, natural and a sign of a wine made without fining or filtration. Named after Mark Haythornthwaite's sister (who adores dry white wines), here's a richly textured, pear and honeysuckle-scented example boasting baked apple and spice complexity.

Sip with: moussaka.

- Canvas

Yvonne Lorkin is co-founder and chief tasting officer of and a Wine Writers of NZ member.

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