Showing posts with label Pinot Gris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pinot Gris. Show all posts

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.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Something different from Alsace and Verona, both wines highly recommended.

Something different from Alsace and Verona, both wines highly recommended.

Vino Nato Disobbediente Monte Dall’Ora 2019 11.5% 

€24.45 (litre bottle) 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny

This blend, of pergola-trained 60% Corvinone & 40% Molinara, from the hills outside of Verona (think Valpolicella), has a quite light ruby red colour. Corvinone has been previously thought to be of the same group as Corvina but 1993 DNA profiling suggests that it is its own unique varietal.

Aromas here are both floral and fruity (strawberry, raspberry, cherry). The taste is along similar lines, relatively intense. On the palate also, you will find a lively acidity before a dry finish. A very pleasant wine indeed and Highly Recommended. It is a certified organic wine, clean and classy.

Not very much info on the “redacted” label, not even a vintage date! Pretty certain it is 2019 though and that is what is on my invoice. The wine’s name, Vino Nato Disobbediente, means Wine Born Disobedient. 

Two other words that survive on the front are resistente and contadino which Google translates as Hardy Farmer! And there’s a bit of sense to that as this type of wine, light and red (that can also take a little chilling), is made by the farmers for their own family use. And, another thing, it comes in a litre bottle. “A litre of pure joy!” According to importers Le Caveau; I willingly agree with that assessment.

The Venturinis, Alessandra and Carlo, have emphasized traditional and native grape varieties wherever possible to give originality and typicality. All the wines are blends of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara and Oseleta. Fermentation is spontaneous with indigenous yeasts and extraction is gentle giving wines of gentle, cherry-fruited elegance.

Christian Binner, Côtes d’AmourSchwir Alsace (AOP) 2013, 13.5% 

€28.95 (was 33.50) 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

This light, fruity and fresh blend of white grapes from the Alsace is a traditional selection of mainly Riesling and Pinot Gris with lesser inputs via Gewuztraminer, Muscat and Auxerrois blanc.

Colour is orange-y. It is an intensely aromatic wine, lots of fruit and floral notes also. No shortage of fruit either on the palate, “a fruit basket of apples, oranges, poached pears and grapes” according to importers Le Caveau. Balance is attained though. It finishes long and dry. If you do like to stray off the usual piste, this is well worth a try. Highly Recommended. 

Serve at less than 14 degrees; grilled fish is an excellent match.

Harvest is manual, all grapes pressed together, fermented with indigenous yeast. It is a medium body structured wine. Zero sulfur added, unfined, unfiltered, so you may see a little sediment as I did.

Côtes d’Amourschwir is a selection from the best vineyards on the Cotes d’Ammerschwir. It is a blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewuztraminer, Muscat and Auxerrois. The grapes are blended from the press, fermentation takes place is large oak foudre that are over 100 years old.

The Binner family has owned vines in Alsace since 1770 and today they practice organic and biodynamic agriculture, neither fine nor filter the wine, use only natural yeasts, use minimal sulphur, etc... All the wines are aged in 100 year old big foudres and undergo malolactic fermentation. 

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.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Karwig Gems from Alsace and Ribeiro.

Karwig Gems from Alsace and Ribeiro.

Chateau D’Orschwihr Pinot Gris Bollenberg Alsace (AOC) 2010, 14.6%, €20.95 Karwig Wine

This is not your usual Pinot Gris.This is from the Alsace where they make them full-bodied, wines of substance and character. “At table,” says the World Atlas of Wine, “it offers a realistic alternative to a white Burgundy.” Different for sure but Very Highly Recommended.

For a start, you are advised to “Take your time to discover this golden yellow coloured wine”.

And that colour is amazing, a brilliant golden yellow, very much like you’d find in a dessert wine such as Monbazillac. The intense exotic nose gives ripe yellow fruits (apricots), floral notes too, even a hint of honey. The palate’s rich with flavour, a creamy mouthfeel, but with an excellent balance and persistent finish.

This full-bodied wine, according to the chateau’s website, “is perfect with white meats, fish or seafood in sauce. It is particularly suited to fit scallop dishes”. 

I think though you can be more adventurous. Bolder suggestions include broiled salmon, rich lentil stews, roast duck and washed rind cheeses. And, with the hints of sweetness (it does have a sugar content at 9g/l), I tried it with a few pitted Tunisian dates (from Bradley’s of Cork) and thought they went perfectly well together. Different strokes for different folks!

Cuñas Davia Ribeiro (DO) 2016, 13.5%, €24.95 Karwig Wine

This pleasant young red wine from Spain is not that widely available; just 2,125 bottles were produced from this vintage and the number on my bottle is #477. It is a blend of 40% Mencía 30% Brancellao 15% Caíño 15% Sousón, not the best known of grapes! Raised for 6-8 months in casks made from French oak and 6 months in the bottle.

It is lovely wine with a dark ruby colour, the rim a little lighter. Fresh and intense aromas of darker fruits (plum, cassis), hints of oak. Warm and smooth on the palate, black and red berry flavours, pleasant acidity, tannins are pleasant too, and there is a long dry finish. Highly Recommended.

The acidity marks it as a wine for food and the makers say it matches perfectly with Galician style octopus, blue fish, grilled meats and earthy casseroles.

Alberto joined his father Antonio García Carrasco in the vineyard in 2009. Alberto says his father “learned the basics of biodynamism - the interaction of cultivation, wine and the Cosmos - from my grandfather, along with a great respect for sustainability and the environment. With these principles, he founded Valdavia in April 2004. My sister, María, and I accompany him on this journey.”

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Two Grand Crus from Alsace

Two Grand Crus from Alsace
Alsace, in north eastern France, has 51 Grand Crus. The system, and not everyone there agrees with it, is terroir based and allows (mostly) just one varietal per wine. So in the pair below, we have Riesling on its own and Pinot Gris also on its own.

The area has never been reluctant to blend though and one such to watch out for is Gentil. Most wine producers have a Gentil in their portfolio. It is a blend of most of their varieties and the Alsatians are quite proud of it. They have to meet a high standard to qualify and Gentils are often reasonably priced. Try Trimbach, Hugel and Meyer-Fonné for a start - it is a very cool introduction to the Alsace wines.

Riesling, used for dry and sweet wines in the general Alsace area, is the king here and the Alsatians are extremely proud of it. And indeed, unusually for France, you will see the grape name (not just Riesling) mentioned on the bottle label. Chateau D’Orschwihr is in the extreme south of the region as are the Grand Crus Kitterlé and Pfingstberg.

Chateau D’Orschwihr Grand Cru Kitterlé Riesling 2008, 12.6%, Karwig Wines.

Yellow going on gold is the colour of this old-stager! Intense nose, the expected petrol aromas almost camouflaged by the fruit. Exuberant on the palate, fruit flavours, minerality and excellent acidity, all in perfect harmony up to and through the long lip-smacking finish, a finish that lingers. Very Highly Recommended. A power packed wine and should go well with spicy Asian dishes, so often recommended for the grape.

It is not often you see Vin Non Chaptalisé (no added sugar) on the label. The practice is still permitted, mostly in northern countries, including in France and Germany, where grapes are produced with low sugar content. It is forbidden in California but producers there can add grape concentrate. Acidification is the other side of the coin. Read more here.

Chateau D’Orschwihr Grand Cru Pfingstberg Pinot Gris 2013, 13.5%, Karwig Wines.
Colour is a mid straw. A fruity nose, hints of spice. Rounded, rich and complex, the merest touch of sweetness, with a very pleasant mouthfeel. Nicely balanced, without the minerality of the Riesling. An easy drinking yet compelling wine, well made, quite elegant and Very Highly Recommended.

Pinot Gris, you’ll read, takes the middle path between “acidic” Riesling and “possibly over-sweet’ Gewürztraminer, and this is certainly the case here. Praise too for the Alsace Pinot Gris, from the World Atlas of Wine: “..the fullest-bodied but least perfumed wine of the region; at table it offers a realistic alternative to a white Burgundy.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The All Whites. Including a Mendoza Double.

Valle Aldino Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Central Valley (Chile), 13%, €12.70 Karwig Wine

Have you been reading The 24 Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson? At €6.80 (Waterstones), it is well worth getting. 

In a section called Be Adventurous, she lists 15 pairs, one wine The Obvious Choice, the other tagged The Clever Alternative.  In Sauvignon Blanc, the obvious is Marlborough while the alternative is Chile.

The alternative, she says, can “be sometimes cheaper, often more interesting”. This Valle Aldino is certainly cheaper and, while not more interesting than the better Marlboroughs, is a good alternative at a decent price.

Colour is a light straw with tints of green. Fresh and grassy aromas, white fruits there too. Gooseberries and citrus flavours, with strong melon-y notes too, on the zesty palate, plus a decent finish. Recommended.

Mendoza’s Domaine Bousquet
A Blend Double

In 1990, the Bousquet family from Carcassonne in Southern France began to explore wine-making possibilities in Argentina. In 1997, they settled in Tupungato (Mendoza) in one of the highest vineyards in the world.

It is no less than 1,200 meters above sea level. There is a large difference between day and night temperatures. This variation (the thermal amplitude) helps create fully ripened grapes with good acidity. The heat of the day promotes the ripening, the chill of the night preserves acidity. Grapes are hand-picked and the vineyard is certified organic.

Domaine Bousquet Chardonnay - Pinot Gris Reserva 2010 (Tupungato, Mendoza, ARG), 14%, €18.80 Mary Pawle Wines
Colour is a light gold, clean and bright and a ring of bubbles stay around the rim for a while. It is strongly aromatic, some exotic white fruit and floral notes too. Concentrated white fruit flavours announce its arrival on the palate and the acidity ensures a happy balance. It is an elegant style with a dry and pleasing finish. Highly Recommended.

The mix is 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Gris. And the Reserve apparently means that the grapes have been picked from the best plots.

Domaine Bousquet Cameleon  Selection Torrontes - Chardonnay 2014 (Tupungato, Mendoza, ARG), 14%, O’Donovan’s Off Licence.

The Cameleon, one of their brands, symbolises the family story of Jean Bousquet, the leaving of France and adapting to the new life in Argentina. Adapted quite well going by this bottle, also Highly Recommended.

The blend here is fifty fifty. Aging is in stainless steel plus four months in bottle. Ideal, they say for seafood, fish dishes and cheeses. I say fine on its own and worth a try too with white meat and Asian dishes.

Colour is a light gold, clean and bright, much like the first bottle above. Aromas are of white fruits, floral notes too. On the palate there are fresh white fruit flavors, some sweet spice, an oily mouthfeel, more body here, that expected acidity and a long, dry and very pleasing finish.

This is what the family wanted from the blend and from their soil. “With its subtle attunement, this Chameleon is a conspicuous presence in a landscape of indistinguishable wine.” Don't know what the neighbours made of that statement!