Pinot Gris gaining popularity with Smugglers Cove
Pinot Gris has becoming increasingly fashionable in New Zealand. With its mouth-filling, rich and refreshing earthly stone pear and apple flavours, it’s now recognised as the third most popular white wine variety among wine drinkers.
New Zealand Pinot Gris is grown throughout the country, mainly in Nelson, Marlborough North Canterbury and Central Otago regions and is number four on the most highly planted and picked variety. The warmer sub-tropical wine regions produce fat ripe oily styles whilst the cooler southerly wine regions produce tighter wines with great structure.
Good Pinot Gris are usually light-bodied, dry and crisp, with citrus or green apple flavours. The better ones can take on additional honeyed richness and fuller, smoother, almost oily body. Immensely popular, the Italian style Pinot Grigio wines are typically lighter-bodied, crisp, fresh, with vibrant stone fruit and floral aromas and a touch of spice.
In contrast, medium-bodied Pinot Gris are delicious sipped solo or enjoyed with seared or grilled fish and simple oven-roasted chicken. Full-bodied complex Pinot Gris can be paired with meaty fish, cream sauces, rich veal, chicken, or pork dishes, and even lamb.
Two of my favourites are:
Ÿ Kahurangi Nelson Pinot Gris 2018: An easy drinking Pinot Gris with flavours of melon, nashi and jasmin with a hint of ginger followed with viscosity and a great length on the finish – with a little bit of Gewurztraminer added to the final blend giving it an extra dimension
Ÿ Mischief North Canterbury Pinot Gris 2018: There is plenty of fruit here, with pear juice and apples dominating the rustic complexity. A rich fruit salad palate, some zesty acidity, and a touch of sweetness make this wine positively jump out of the glass.
n David Prescott is principal of Smugglers Cove Wines Ltd and has been in the wine trade for over 30 years.