Just 10 minutes outside Wellington, in the Bovlei Valley, lies the picturesque and historic farm Val du Charron, which dates back to 1699.
It was in 2006 that the Entwistle Family purchased the 45 ha farm and re-established the winemaking tradition that began there in the 17th century. Val du Charron is a fitting name for the farm, meaning Valley of the Wagonmakers - the original name of the valley.
The estate makes a stable of quality wines - in 2012 it was recognised as an estate- whereby all wines under the Val du Charron labels are bottled, produced and come from vines grown on the farm itself.
It means the wines are thus highly expressive of the terroir found there, on the southerly facing slopes. There are just over 21 hectares of land planted over to vineyards with chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon being a large focus, although the farm produces wines from 16 different varietals - some single cultivar wines and others that are blends.
In all the wines you'll find a complexity and finesse that come from skilled and creative winemaking and attention to detail both in the cellar and in the vineyards.
Small wonder that the farm has garnered a host of awards for many of its labels including, amomgst many others, a gold medal at the 2011 Michelangelo International Wine Awards for the Black Countess 2010 vintage.
Two of the best examples of diverse winemaking can be found in the Val du Charron 2018 Pinot Gris - an opulent, luscious wine with a deep honeyed colour and showing off a citrus nose with tropical notes of pear and melon aromas.
Fragrance comes from delicate hints of honeysuckle and vanilla. Sample it and the wonderful aromas you get on the nose carry through on the palate with a full mouthfeel and a lingering finish. The wine was made in limited quantities with just over 6 200 bottles produced.
Another highly sought-after wine is the Val du Charron 2015 Black Countess, a blend of Shiraz (74%), Mourvedre (21% ) and Grenache (5%).
This beautifully elegant wine has lots going on - complex aromas of cassis, blueberry, blackberry, cherry, and hints of dried herbs, vanilla and cinnamon tickle and tempt the nose while tasting it elicits soft velvety tannins and sweet cranberry and cherry flavours - making for a lavish flavour-packed wine.
The use of judicious oaking in French and American barrels allows the fruit to come through with its 12 month in vats adding that wonderful complexity.
Only 10 300 bottles of this superbly crafted wine were made.