One Off ‘Rhymes with Orange’ Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2015

01-Mar-2016
The new category of wines that encompass "natural, orange, skin contact, no sulphur, no intervention” is certainly divisive, and there are certainly rational arguments for and against the wines. As with most such topics, I take a step back and try not to get emotively involved. It’s a little easier for me, a consumer-based reviewer rather than a technically trained wine judge, to appreciate these wines for the marketplace. As trained, I approach the assessment of a wine holistically, and at the end of the day it’s about balance and enjoyment with interesting character, as well as quality. In reality, ‘natural’ wines occupy an extremely small part of the market, but the vociferous support for them by some ‘gatekeepers’ means there is disproportional commentary about them. I’ve only reviewed a couple of such wines for ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’, but I have tasted a good number of them outside this vehicle, some very enjoyable, others not so, and I continue to keep what I think is an open mind for them.

A growing number of wine producers are trialling the making of wines in this category, and these include many highly regarded makers of more ‘conventional’ wines. Rod McDonald in Hawke’s Bay is one of these, and he has released his ‘One Off’ ‘Rhymes with Orange’ Pinot Gris 2015, made with extended skin contact resulting in a wine with a distinct orange colour. In some quarters, this colour is a danger signal, but for others it is an attraction. I review the wine here. The wine has restrained funkiness and well-managed textures. www.rmwines.co.nz


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