Pinot gris has a legion of Kiwi fans, but it’s still lagging behind other styles on the quality front, says JOHN SAKER.
THE RISE OF NEW ZEALAND pinot gris has been gravity defying. It has gone from a near standing start in 2000 (130ha of vines, to be precise) to covering 2480ha today. It has found a dedicated following among wine consumers who are after a fresh, approachable white wine to sip after work. You could argue that its instant popularity has hurt it on the quality front. It certainly lags behind other styles in terms of success rate at wine shows, with our latest tasting being a case in point. The Cuisine panel judged 104 pinot gris from around the country, with only four being awarded four and-a-half stars or more. “Achieving concentration, harmony and balance in pinot gris remains all too elusive,” noted panel chair John Belsham.
For this New Zealand pinot gris tasting, John Belsham, an international wine judge and owner of Foxes Island Wines in Marlborough, was joined by Simon Nunns, winemaker at Coopers Creek, and John Saker, author and Cuisine wine writer.
All wines are tasted blind. If, after discussion, the tasters do not agree on a star rating, the wine will receive the rating given by the majority but dissenting comments will be included in the wine notes. The scores of winemaker judges cannot exceed those of other judges.
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