Melton Estate Canterbury Pinot Gris 2013 $23
Twenty minutes from Christchurch on the West Coast Rd (SH73) is a leafy locale known as West Melton, home to a plucky community of winegrowers including Philip Caunter, a million-miles-an-hour man who doubles as "software entrepreneur" and "ardent fan of the West Melton RFC". His vines grow on free-draining, greywacke-littered soils gifted by ancient braided flows of the Waimakariri River and this gris is developing into a nashi-scented, complex, mineral-driven little number. Light, spicy and gently styled.
Sip with: almond chicken salad with basil mayo.
Ataahua Waipara Pinot Noir 2015 $25Serious clove, star anise and sandalwood and all manner of crazy exotic spices erupt from the glass as you pour this little Waipara wunderkind. It grips the gums with muscular gusto and finishes with some savoury kapow (technical term there). Stephanie Henderson-Grant and husband Andrew have been making wine here since 1995, so they know how to coax some champion flavours into each bottle.
Sip with: Moroccan beef, prune, date and honey tagine.
The Bone Line Riverbone Waipara Sauvignon Blanc 2013 $30
An image of an 18-million-year-old megalodon tooth found in North Canterbury's Waipara River adorns the label and it's totally appropriate because this barrel-fermented sauvignon absolutely pings with bone-dry, ferociously funky, limestone loveliness. Lime and flint flavours wash over classic bruised watercress and charred capsicum notes in this wine grown by husband and wife team Vic Tutton and Lindsay Hill from their fossil-laden vineyard on Ram Paddock Rd.
Sip with: zucchini and feta fritters.
Yvonne Lorkin is co-founder and chief tasting officer of winefriend.co.nz and a Wine Writers of NZ member.