This gorgeous gnocchi dish from Cosset Café has comfort food written all over it and as soon as I saw walnuts and blueberries in the ingredients list I immediately raced out and got a bottle of Waipara Hills Equinox Pinot Noir 2010 ($29) Why? Because it is packed to the cap with aromas of freshly-dug dirt, wild berries and baking spices, that’s why. In the mouth it is deliciously juicy and is edged with cherry, chocolate and blueberry flavours while leaving a lush, warming texture on the finish. It works beautifully with the creamy walnut sauce and the tangy apple and blueberry cider sauce on the side.
Focussed on making sure their wines express their ‘terroir’ and the unique character of their region in the purest way possible, Waipara Hills are now part of the “Greening Waipara” project. A number of high profile North Canterbury wineries have joined this initiative which is based on local using native plants in and around the vineyard. Waipara Hills are using Kanuka, Cabbage Tree and Lancewood around the vineyard, Maori Jasmine at the start of the vine rows and plants such as Bidibid, Muehlenbeckia and Scabweed between the grapevines.
All of these plants have properties which it’s hoped will minimise the need to use conventional herbicides and pesticides on the vineyard. The winery is working with Lincoln University to determine what benefits in terms of pest control, weed suppression, disease-prevention, soil health and carbon footprint implications these plantings might have.