Monday, November 2, 2020

A Stunning Pinot Gris and a "more serious" Vinho Verde. Quite a double!

Quite a double!

A Stunning Pinot Gris and a "more serious" Vinho Verde.

Ata Rangi “Lismore” Pinot Gris Martinborough 2018, 13.5%

€35.99, The Corkscrew, The Ely Wine Store Maynooth

Pinot Gris, originally from Burgundy, is a relation of Pinot Noir. You’ll know the Italian version as Pinot Grigio but many Italian examples don’t reach the standard of this Martinborough wine. 

It has a beautiful light gold colour. Aromas of white and yellow fruits are quite intense. A luscious mouthfeel but the main feature on the palate is the fresh acidity, from attack to finalé. 

The grapes are harvested relatively late to enable the grapes to develop their full flavour profile, and that is certainly the case here. Great fruit, terrific texture and a long and concentrated finish. From a vineyard now 23 years old, the roots of the old vines drive metres deep into the gravels and consistently deliver fruit with great texture.

They say: A classic Pinot Gris originally influenced by the style of wines from Alsace but developed over the years into our own, uniquely Martinborough style. With just a few grams of residual sugar, Pinot Gris is a delicious stand-alone aperitif. It is also one of our favourite food and wine matching choices, especially for anything with heady spice and/or challenging flavours. 

The fruit is hand-picked and whole bunch pressed. Juice cold settled. A combination of ferments in small stainless tanks and 500 litre oak puncheons; in both cases left on lees for several months. Native yeast. No malolactic fermentation. Very impressive from start to finish and this distinctive wine with the Irish name is Very Highly Recommended.

Azevedo Reserva Vinho Verde (DOC) 2019, 12%, 

€18.99 Blackrock Cellar, Clontarf Wines,, McHughs Off Licence, World Wide Wines, Alain and Christine Wine and Card Shop, The Ely Wine Store, Maynooth, J. J. O’Driscoll, The Cinnamon Cottage 

This Vinho Verde has a light yellow colour, and looks pristine in the glass. Lime leads the aroma charge, herbal notes in there too. Terrific concentration on the palate, more weight and texture than normal due to the skin contact and lees stirring during vinification plus an unmistakable acidity. A complex and compelling wine.

It is a blend of Loureiro (70%) and Alvarinho (30). You probably know that the Vinho Verde area is close to Spain where Alvarinho is called Albarino. Here, in the particular wine, Loureiro is credited with giving it intensity and freshness while Alvarinho contributes texture, creaminess and volume. All in all, a more serious Vinho Verde, well balanced with a persistent finish, and Highly Recommended.

No extremes during the 2019 season, though harvest occurred slightly later than usual. The conditions resulted in aromatically expressive wines with a fresh profile and balanced acidity. After fermentation, the wine was matured in stainless-steel tanks with "bâtonnage", stirring of the lees, for three months.

When Fernando Guedes acquired this historic estate in 1982, he revolutionised the viticulture by planting 35 hectares of cordon-trained vineyards, rather than the traditional high-trained pergolas, and built a modern winery with state-of-the-art facilities for the production of fresh and elegant wines. Today, winemaker António Braga makes an impressive range of whites, all marked by a signature freshness and pure and precise flavour and this is one of them.

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