Cuisine Wine

Pinot Gris Tasting results

15 February 2021 (Cuisine magazine Issue 204)

Tricky circumstances resulted in unpredictable pinot gris this year – MARY-THERESE BLAIR explains why.

Poor Pinot Gris, sometimes it just can’t catch a break and 2020 was no different with gris – much like the rest of us – a victim of COVID-19. The outbreak of coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown coincided with New Zealand wine harvest. Wineries, unsure about whether or not the government would allow picking, were trapped in a place of extreme uncertainty and genuinely founded fears of potentially losing their entire crop. This meant that in some cases pinot gris grapes were picked as much as two weeks earlier than expected. Grapes picked too early can lack flavour and require more intervention in the winery. This will mean that the quality of 2020-vintage gris will vary and that, alongside the fact that gris is already made in a range of styles and sweetness levels, might cause your brain to reel. Here to help, the Cuisine panel have picked what they think are the best of the best that’s available, to help make your summer gris choices that bit easier.

top Pinot Gris

Whitehaven Marlborough Pinot Gris 2019

Whitehaven owners Greg and Sue White made a huge lifestyle change in the 1990s when they embarked on ocean adventures on their yacht Chanticleer. While sailing in the Pacific they sought shelter from hurricane season in the calm Marlborough Sounds and were inspired to pursue another dream, this time on dry land. Whitehaven was that new dream. Harvested mostly by hand between mid-March and the start of April, the grapes for this wine were smaller than usual, as a result of a hot, dry summer and a lower crop. These smaller berries, however, meant greater intensity of flavour and a softer acid profile in the wine. Once fermented, yeast lees were stirred through regularly to help achieve textural characters in the wine, and also to develop the silky creaminess present on the palate that so appealed to our judges. The wine has a beautiful perfume of redapple skin, spice and rose petals on the nose which follow through and feel layered on the palate along with notes of gingerbread. The wine has complexity due to the pert yet soft acidity that brings everything together. A seductive, smartly crafted wine with the essential nuances of great gris.

| $23
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Star ratings for this tasting

» How ratings work

  • Outstanding 5
  • Excellent 4
  • Very Good 8
  • Good 26
  • No Award 45
  • Total Entries 88