Pinot gris is one of the world’s more popular wine varieties, is very food friendly and is particularly well suited to growing here in Marlborough. The pinot gris grape has low acid but retains more of its natural acidity in Marlborough’s cool climate, allowing the wine to be in balance. Strong diurnal fluctuation provides a long, sunny growing season, affording excellent flavour development.
For my Marlborough Pinot Gris, I blend from sites across a wide range of the Marlborough winegrowing region. My blend centres on north and south bank Awatere, with fruit from the Wairau Valley and Kekerengu Coast complementing the intensely aromatic Awatere core. When crafting my blend, I pay close attention to the fill-in and layering of the different flavour spectrums and aromas.
I try to capture the sense of lovely poached pears, light stone fruit and bright red apple and follow through with a dry, mineral finish. Most of the grapes are hand-picked and delicately whole cluster pressed to add fine texture, weight and minerality. We machine harvest the balance of fruit at night to retain as much fruit freshness as possible. I use the most delicate press cycle to avoid the extraction of harsh phenolics and to retain fruit purity. The hand-picked portion is fermented on solids to add a delicate texture and enhance the spicy notes on the nose. The palate weight comes exclusively from the high solids ferment and fruit concentration.
In New Zealand, the varietal is generally called pinot gris rather than pinot grigio and encompasses a wide range of residual sugar levels and styles. I am trying to produce a dry version of pinot gris that has a nod towards some of the more aromatic, finer examples of northern Italian, higher altitude pinot grigio as well as referencing a little the wines of Alsace, but it’s pretty much a Kiwi style — a Marlborough style.
I aim for an aromatic, crisp and precise pinot gris, and stylistically it is dryer than most. My Marlborough Pinot Gris is a beautiful food wine and is probably the easiest of our white wines for pairing with a wide range of food. The attention to detail around fruit handling allows a wine composition that can age gracefully over many years.
Simon Waghorn — Winemaker
Citrus peel, poached pear and peach with light spice.
Pure, crisp and dry wine with a fine minerality and delicacy of structure. Pear, quince and peach flavours dominate.
Will reward careful cellaring over several years through the development of bottle age complexities and is already drinking well.
A versatile food wine, pairing with poultry, pork, egg dishes, salmon, light pastas and creamy mushrooms.
PINOT GRIS SERVING TEMPERATURE
"Fresh and fruity with aromas of fragrant spices, ripe green and brown pear, apples and sweet lemon. Dry on the palate with a core of fruit showcasing lemon and apple then pear and spice. Plenty of acidity and finely textured mouthfeel round out the wine adding length and complexity. Well made and ready to enjoy upon purchase and through 2023." MAR 21
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier
"The 2020 vintage (4.5*) was grown in the Awatere Valley and mostly hand-harvested. Pale lemon/green, it is full-bodied, with very good intensity of vibrant, youthful peach, pear and spice flavours, fresh acidity and a dry, lingering finish. Best drinking 2022+." Buyer’s Guide Edition: 2021”
New Zealand Wines: Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide 2021
"Delicately luscious, dry pinot gris with ripe pear, stewed apple, clove, spice, floral and honeysuckle flavours. A flavoursome wine with a pleasingly rich and moderately smooth texture. Drink 2021 to 2024." MAY 21
Bob Campbell, Master of Wine
The Real Review © The Real Review
“Simon Waghorn is one of Marlborough best’s known winemakers and for good reason. He rocks when it comes to making great whites and this one is a blend of grapes from three sub-regions in Marlborough; Awatere (73%), Waihopai (17%) and Kekerengu (10%). Loads of fruit thinning in the vineyard provided grapes with super-rich concentrated flavours, which were then cool-fermented to make a dry wine with fresh white fruit aromas and a long, soft finish - delicious.” OCT 20
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