PINOT GRIS - THE CROWD PLEASER
Jules Taylor explains why her ever popular Pinot Gris is perfect for a party.
South East Asian dishes like grilled lemongrass chicken with fresh mango, candied cashews, coriander and chili or why not try these chilli glazed pork belly rice paper rolls with peanut and hoisin dipping sauce?
For me, it’s a grape where you can use different techniques and methods each year, evolving the techniques and trying something a little different. The pleasure is in the not knowing what each vintage is going to bring.
AROMA & FLAVOUR
Exploding out of the glass with ripe tropical notes of mango, white peach and canteloupe melon, the primary aromas are supported by touches of fresh cut strawberries and tahitian lime and hints of exotic nutmag and toasted coconut. The palate is smooth and full flavoured. Well balanced, with a slight minerality creating a fine-textured bone dry palate, this Pinot Gris finishes in a flourish of long-lasting tropical fruit.
The 2018/19 growing season began with a roar. A wet winter left soils saturated and mild spring temperatures kicked off strong early canopy growth. Flowering was slightly earlier than average with Pinot Gris in mid flower by early December. A little drizzle during flowering affected pollination and meant the bunches were open with lots of smaller berries. After the wet winter and good levels of rainfall during spring, the last significant rain of summer (27mls) fell on Christmas day. For the rest of the growing season, the warm dry weather was perfect for growing disease-free fruit and meant the 2019 harvest would start early. Pinot Gris which was the first variety to be harvested in 2019 at Will Griggs Meadowbank vineyard. The dry summer had reduced the size of berries so crops were a bit lighter than estimates had predicted. Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris were the two varieties most impacted but it has made for great concentration in the resultant wines. Vintage itself was really concentrated with all fruit harvested in 22 days compared to the 33 days over 2018.
Around 50% of the fruit for this Pinot Gris came from the Meadowbank vineyard in the Taylor Pass sub-region, with the remainder coming from two unirrigated vineyards in the Lower Wairau. The grapes were a mix of the newer 457 and 52B clones which produce gorgeous little berries full of concentrated stonefruit and spice flavours. In the winery the majority of the juice was pressed and settled in tank then racked for a long, cool fermentation with selected yeast to preserve fruit characters and freshness. Jules retained higher levels of solids through the fermentation to enhance mouthfeel and texture. The hand harvested portion of grapes was whole bunch pressed to old barrels for a wild ferment with natural yeasts. This portion of wine also underwent a full malolactic fermentation with some lees stirring. After resting approximately six months, the components were blended then bottled.