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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pinot Gris - 2010 Vintage Selection


Pinot Gris seems to have come out of nowhere, to be the fashionable white wine both here in NZ, and also overseas.  The grape is a mutation of the Pinot Noir family and like other Pinots, is described by its colour.  In French, Gris (grey) - or in Italian, Grigio. 


Only problem is – you never know quite what you’re getting.  Pinot Gris can be anything from dry, flinty and delicate – to sweet, full bodied, and complex.  Basically, it pays to read the back label if you want an idea of how it’s going to taste.  

In Europe – Germany, Alsace, and Italy the best Pinot Gris are oily, sweetish, full-bodied luscious wines.  And some of our best NZ examples are coming from Martinborough, Marlborough and Central Otago.

As an alternative to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, it is gaining popularity as a white wine which suits most of the foods which the other two do, but it also has the delicacy to double as a ‘settle the guests before dinner’ aperitif, or get-home-from-work-need-a-drink-ASAP type wine.

Typical flavours to expect: poached pear, stewed apples, honeysuckle, stone fruit, lime & lager.  Oak ageing will add smoky and spicy nuances.  Call me a philistine, but I think a good Pinot Gris tastes not unlike a gin & tonic.  Or as a friend’s wife once said, (after a few), ‘a ginnic and ton.’

For food matches, I would highly recommend seafood, even in preference to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.  Ripe sweet fruit and background acidity are a perfect match for crayfish, scallops, crab, and most NZ white fish.

To the wnes... I award them variously - three bananas, four thumbs up and smiley face each.

Soljans  Kumeu 2010 Pinot Gris
Medium style - fruity slightly sweet, clean flavoured with crisp apple and nashi pear flavours. From their local Auckland Kumeu estate fruit.
Staete Landt 2010 Pinot Gris.  Marlborough higher end producer, makes this in a rounded oak barrel fermented style, which adds complexity and a lush softness to the poached pear flavours.
Kim Crawford 'First Pick' Pinot Gris 2010
Young, crisp and clean flavoured. More of a dry crisp style - verging on Sauv Blanc flavours. Acidic apple/pear and mouth watering finish.

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