Tuesday, January 24, 2023

A stunning Pinot Gris from New Zealand’s Marlborough

 A stunning Pinot Gris from 

New Zealand’s Marlborough

Tinpot Hut Pinot Gris Marlborough 2022, 13.0% ABV

RRP €24.99. Stockists: Red Island Wine Co. World Wide Wines. Bradleys Cork.

The name Pinot Gris is well down the list when people think of the different grape varieties. So what is it? Is it part of the Pinot family? Pinot Gris (better known to most of us as Pinot Grigio) is a pink grape mutation of Pinot Noir as is Pinot Blanc. 

While Pinot Gris, as Pinot Grigio, is grown in many countries, it is mostly associated with Italy but is increasingly grown in New Zealand’s Marlborough. Our excellent example comes from Fiona Turner’s Tinpot Hut winery there. Tinpot say it is a dry style with fresh pear, white peach & spice notes. 

Very pale straw is the colour here. Aromas are fragrant, led by pear, peach and lime with a streak of spice there too, all a build-up to an amazing palate,  intense ripe fruit flavours, succulent and beautifully balanced, silky with good weight, lip-smacking and the flavour-packed finish lingers. Very Highly Recommended.

The Tinpot Hut story began in 2003 when winemaker Fiona Turner and her husband Hamish established their own 20 hectare vineyard in Marlborough’s emerging sub-region of Blind River.

When I met her in Cork’s Electric, a good few years back, Fiona explained that the name of her range of wines comes from a historic Marlborough mustering hut; that ‘Tinpot Hut’ links the area’s sheep farming past with its current state as one of the world’s most dynamic wine regions.

Fruit is sourced from Fiona’s ‘Home Block’ and is supplemented by grapes from selected vineyards. She is assisted by Matt Thomson, a friend and colleague with whom she has worked for many years.

The 2022 growing season was characterised by La Nina conditions. Warm flowering conditions and regular rainfall during berry sizing meant rigorous canopy and yield management was crucial to bring the vines and yields into balance, producing fruit of exceptional character. 

In the winery, once settled, the clear juice was cool fermented in stainless steel using an aromatic yeast to help tease out the delicate flavours, and to retain the fresh fruit characteristics and underlying spicy notes, ( a very successful operation indeed!)

Tinpot advises matching with Asian cuisine, a summer barbecue or winter roast chicken. Wine Folly suggests: white meats, seafoods and food with a fruit element (lemons, oranges, peaches or apricot).

Marlborough, on the north-eastern corner of the South Island, is well known for its excellent Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. You may  also add Riesling and Pinot Gris to that list. And if you want good examples of each of them be sure and check out  Fiona’s Tinpot Hut range that extends to superb Chardonnay,  Grüner Veltliner and Riesling.

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