Quartz Reef Pinot Gris 2006, $46
MENTION New Zealand wines and what comes to mind?
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, most probably. But there is much more to be found in the country's wine repertoire.
I met winemaker and general manager of Quartz Reef winery, Mr Rudolph Bauer, during his visit to Singapore last week, and my first question was: 'Why is it that the New Zealand wine scene seems so much quieter than the Australian?'
He replied: 'That's not our style. We just do things, instead of telling everyone we are doing it.'
The Austrian-born winemaker has made New Zealand his home since 1985, starting off in the more established Hawkes Bay region in the North Island.
It wasn't long before he discovered the beauty of the South Island, especially its Central Otago region. It is in this area that New Zealand wines are diversifying beyond Sauvignon Blanc.
Central Otago is the country's youngest and most dynamic region, and the earliest winemaker started making wines there only in the 1990s. As it is the highest and southernmost wine-growing region in New Zealand, its cool climate has made it a hotbed for Pinot Noir.
Now, the white grape varietal that seems to be showing a lot of potential is Pinot Gris. Compared to the more exuberant Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, it is more restrained in character.
'We make a more Germanic style, heavier than the Italian Pinot Grigios, and lighter than the Alsaciens. This makes it an ideal food wine,' Mr Bauer said.
Central Otago has already received votes of confidence from the Hollywood set. Fans include Gwyneth Paltrow, who has named the region's wines one of her favourites, and actor Sam Neil (from Jurassic Park) owns the Two Paddocks winery there.
A fresh wine with aromas of stone fruits. Layers of minerality, a hint of spiciness and a nice coat of oiliness on the palate, rounded off with crisp acidity. A lean, dry wine that makes for delicious drinking.
Salads, sandwiches and seafood.
Cellar Door, 611 Bukit Timah Road,