Grey's Peak is a winery based in the Waipara region of New Zealand. This is on the northeast coast of the South Island, located just an hour north of the island's largest city, Christchurch. The vineyards sit in the rain shadow of the Southern Alps, a picturesque mountain range that should be familiar to anyone who has seen Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Here are the three wines in the Grey's Peak lineup. I tried these with some friends in a casual afternoon tasting, but I found myself thinking about seafood the entire time, which explains my pairing suggestions:
2009 Grey's Peak Sauvignon Blanc
$18, 12.5% abv
This is a classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with elements of grapefruit and lime curd, with the latter notes providing a slight creaminess to offset the tart acidity. I would love to pair this with a lunch of grilled shrimp and steamed fresh vegetables.
2009 Grey's Peak Riesling
$18, 11.5% abv
Riesling is not the first grape I associate with New Zealand, but this one turned out to be the favorite of the three by everyone present. It's a lightly sweet wine full of ripe peach and pear flavors. Not cloying or tinny like the canned varieties, but the real thing straight from farmers' markets and just about to go soft. Perhaps great with butter-fried trout flecked with a little lemon pepper, like you make on a fishing trip.
2008 Grey's Peak Pinot Noir
$25, 13.5% abv
The other famous grape of New Zealand is Pinot Noir, and this is an approachable and delicious introduction to the region. It has a nose of ripe wild strawberries and an undercurrent of toast. On the palate it's tart with matching ripe strawberry flavor. Best with baked salmon and roasted potatoes and parsnips.
Note: This wine was received as a sample from The Country Vintner.