Top 6 Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris can be so versatile, from bone dry style showing off minerals and citrus to lush style with succulent fruit, accompanied by spices and an unctuous mouthfeel. Other than playing with sweet or dry style, creating texture plays a huge part in styles, too.
Ostler Audrey's Pinot Gris 2016 was especially intriguing, wild fermented in old demi-muid barrels created a very fine texture line, reminiscent of a fine Burgundy, showing off its Waitaki calcareous minerality with nuances of flint and oyster shells yet have perfectly balanced sugar and acidity; in an off-dry style, carrying spices and creamy lees characters. At four years of age, the wine is incredibly fresh.
The Elder Natural Pinot Gris 2020 spent 11 days on skins, extracting that beautiful bright orange colour, along with a complex range of herbaceous characters and phenolics, makes a mealy palate and an incredible food match for a wide range of food.
A relatively new label Coxs' Vineyard in Gibbston, Central Otago managed to transmit the beauty of Gibbston into the wine with lots of pretty subtleties and balance in a hotter vintage of 2018.
So far, 2020 proofs to be a great vintage for Pinot Gris, four of the new releases made it to the Top 6, they all have lovely concentrations and purity of fruit, all dry in style with a decent amount of alcohol in immaculate balance, great potential to develop and gain more complexity over the next 3-5 years.
Below are my detailed reviews on the Top 6 Pinot Gris from 2020 tastings:
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Ostler Audrey’s Pinot Gris 2016, Waitaki ValleyPinot Gris from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 26-Aug-2020Bright, even colour throughout, light yellow. The bouquet is elegant and tightly bound with stonefruit, pear drop, along with oyster shells and flint, underlay a positive reductive barrel note, reminiscent of a Burgundian Chardonnay. Fruit notes became more prominent as it aerated, subtle flinty barrel detail interwoven into the wine. Medium-bodied, flavours of stonefruit, pear drop has a good core of concentration, melded with bright nuances of five-spice, lingers with chalky minerals to a long sustained finish. The mouthfeel is creamy and light, lifting and lively throughout the palate. Acidity is mouthwatering and crisp, balanced with the sugar sweetness, flows effortlessly along a chalky mineral texture line lends linearity. This is an elegant and charming Pinot Gris with style, off-dry with characterful flavours and balanced, crisp acidity on an effortless creamy flow and a chalky mineral line. Match with flesh fried whitebait with Japanese spices and Spanish style calamari over the next 5-6 years. Wild yeast fermented in old demi-muid barrels to 14% alc, 10 g/l RS. 19.5/20 pts Aug 2020 RRP $35
Hawkshead Pinot Gris 2020, Central OtagoPinot Gris from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 16-Oct-2020Brilliant, bright straw-yellow with some depth and slight lime hue, even colour throughout. The nose is soft and pretty, slowly growing in volume, nuances of green apple, pear entwine honeysuckle and subtle warming spices. Medium-bodied, dry to taste, the palate is unctuous and bright, flavours of green apple, pear accompanied by sun-dried apricot. Pretty fragrances of honeysuckle interweave delicate spices, leaves a tingle sensation on the palate. The fruit ripeness is just right with brilliant concentration underlined lacy acidity, provide freshness, carry mineral crunch through the palate, lifted spices linger on a long and elegant closing. This is an elegant, dry Pinot Gris with superb balance, showing aromas of apricots and tree fruit, subtle honeysuckle and warming spices on an unctuous mouthfeel. Match with pulled pork and siu mai over the next 3-5 years. Fruit from 36% Gibbston and 64% Lowburn. Handpicked, whole bunch pressed, fermented 90% in stainless steel and 10% in older barrels to 13.5% alc, 2 g/l RS. Aged on lees for 4 months. 19/20 pts (95 pots)Oct 2020 RRP $32
Grasshopper Rock Pinot Gris 2020, Central OtagoPinot Gris from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 12-Oct-2020Bright, pale straw-yellow with a slight green hue, even colour throughout. The bouquet is elegantly presented, gentle and fragrant nuances of stonefruit, pear melded with white florals and a fine dusting of spices. Medium-bodied, dry to taste, the palate fills with apricots, pears, lemon juice and zest with brilliant intensity, along with honeysuckles and lifted ginger spices on the finish. The wine has a smooth flow with complimenting oily mouthfeel; lively acidity provides balance and support, brighten the palate with great energy. The finish is fine and flavoursome, lingers with lemon zest and ginger to a sustained moreish finish. This is a well-balanced Pinot Gris with bright flavours and tension of apricot and pear, honeysuckles and ginger nuances on a smooth, oily mouthfeel. Match with Cantonese dim sum and dumplings over the next 3-4 years. Fermented in stainless steel tanks to 14.1% alc, 4.8 g/l RS. Vegan friendly. 18.5+/20 Oct 2020 RRP $27
The Elder Natural Pinot Gris 2020, MartinboroughPinot Gris from New Zealand - Wairarapa & WellingtonReview Date : 10-Nov-2020Opaque, orange-sunset, even colour throughout. The nose has a richness, deep fragrances of citrus peels, Amaro, melded with an amalgam of herbs, fresh and medicinal, underlying sweet pear and stonefruit. Dry to taste, medium-full bodied, scents of apricots, pears, entwined with citrus zest, five-spice, lavender; unveiling Amaro with some depth of medicinal herbs. The flavours have a sense of purity, complement each other and complexing. Tannins have a good grip, reminiscent of a black tea, providing body and texture with some chewiness. This is a fragrant on-skins Pinot Gris with flavours of stonefruit and pear, accompanied by complexing herbal and floral fragrances with an aromatic black tea tannin grip. Match with tapas selection over the next 3-5 years. Handpicked, fully destemmed, fermented in an open-top 350L old barrel to 14.5% alc, 1 g/l RS and left on skins for 11 days. Aged in 228L barriques on lees for 5 months. Unfined, unfiltered. A small amount of sulphur used pre-bottling. 18.5+/20 pts (94 pts) Nov 2020 RRP $42
Q Wine Pinot Gris 2020, Waitaki ValleyPinot Gris from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 24-Aug-2020Bright, even, light yellow with some depth and a slightly lime hue. The bouquet is gently full with aromas of sweet pear, quince, white blossoms and a hint of spice. Medium-bodied, dry to taste, pears, quinces, apricots have a good core of concentrate, melded with white flowers and a touch of five-spice. The wine is fresh and bright with excellent depth of flavour intensity, showing the varietal characters as well as the Waitaki Valley terroir. The acidity is taut and focused carries the flavours thorough the palate with grace, along with crunchy minerals and a light phenolic grip to lengthy linearity. This is a dry Pinot Gris with aromas of pear and stonefruit, along with subtleties of white blossoms, five-spice and minerals and an excellent acid drive. 100% whole-bunch pressed, fermented to 14% alc, 2 g/l RS. 10% fermented on French oak, aged for 3 months. 450 cases produced. 18.5+/20 pts Aug 2020 RRP $30
Coxs’ Vineyard Gibbston Pinot Gris 2018, Central OtagoPinot Gris from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 05-Jun-2020Bright, light yellow with a slight green hue, even throughout. The nose is elegantly presented, soft, delicate notes of white florals, sweet pear, yellow apple and a subtle mineral underlay. Dry to taste, clean and crisp with aromas of sweet pear and apple, faintly white florals, unfolding some delicate spices leads to a prickly sensation. Medium-bodied, the oily texture providing a smoothness; mouthwatering acidity carries the wine with a breeze, refreshing and light; chalky mineral presenting on the finish leaves the mouthfeel with a dusting of dryness. Good energy and youthful, a richness of honey nuance accompanied by an amalgam of spices, contributing balance and complexity, carries to a long sustained finish. This medium weight Pinot Gris has the quintessential of Central Otago, swell with plenty of beautiful subtleties, honeyed oily texture and minerality, rich yet refreshing. Match with Vietnamese pork dishes and Asian fare over the next 5+ years. 85% fermented in stainless steel, 15% fermented in used oak barrels to 13.5% alc, 2 g/l RS. Rested on lees for 6 months. 867 bottles produced. 18.5+/20pts June 2020 RRP$30