Coincidental with the dreadful news from Christchurch I recently received a sample pack from Main Divide – which served as a reminder of how good the wines of Canterbury are. Waipara, where Main Divide is based an hour north of Christchurch, is a boutique region that often gets ignored in favour of the big players like Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. It remains my favourite region, for its fabulous wines, food, scenery and friendly people.
Main Divide is the second tier label of Pegasus Bay, a label owned and operated by the Donaldson family since the early 1970’s.
Ivan Donaldson is a consultant neurologist, wine writer and wine judge. His wife Christine is still involved in the business though directs most of her energy into maintaining the winery's extensive grounds. Winemakers are eldest son, Matthew who graduated with a degree in winemaking from Roseworthy College in Australia, and his wife Lynnette Hudson, who has similar qualifications from Lincoln University. Another son, Edward, is Marketing Manager and his wife Belinda supervises the Pegasus Bay Winery Restaurant.
Paul, the youngest son, has an MBA degree and works as General Manager for the company.
Main Divide Pinot Gris 2010 $19.95
Lush and slightly sweet, this is a big bodied Pinot Gris with flavours of grape fruit, pears and a hint of honey. It was fermented and then aged for a while in French Oak.
Main Divide Merlot Cabernet 2008 $19.95
Two years in oak barrels has added depth and complexity to this stunningly good value red. It has hints of pot pourri with medium tannins, sweet ripe black cherry, spice and liquorice. Yum!