Well actually truth be told it’s the first Bests first Pinot Gris (doesn’t that still mean it’s also the best ever?) Its not a wine we have made before but from time to time we come across small parcels of grapes that are so exceptional that we just must make them into wine. This was the case with some Pinot Gris vines that are planted and grown by a local vigneron on cool slopes, a short drive south west of our Concongella Vineyard.
A bit of grape geek history for you: Although it tastes nothing like it now (and is white!) Pinot Gris is actually derived from Pinot Noir and originated in the Burgundy vineyards in France. It wasn’t until the vine migrated to the northern region of Alsace, that it made a name for itself. It’s now widely found throughout Europe and has a significant presence in Germany as well as New Zealand.
It’s also a wine with many faces (and names). Throughout Alsace it’s known as Tokay Pinot Gris, in Italy it’s Pinot Grigio and in Germany known as Ruländer or Grauburgunder. And here in Australia, a loose rule of thumb is that wineries call it Pinot Grigio if it resembles the crisper, fruitier style made in Italy and Pinot Gris if it is closer to the slightly richer style of Alsace. Confused yet?
Although considered a white wine, Pinot Gris grape is actually pink in colour, which is the reason why the wine may look a bit coppery in the glass. Our wine was made with whole berries, gently squeezed in the press to make sure we didn’t extract too much colour. It was left on lees after ferment, with stirring from time to time to bring out the wine’s character.
It’s light, fresh and has a great mouth feel with great natural balance – we’re aiming more for the Alsatian style with texture, and some delicate flavours of pear, white peach and a fresh finish. Try it with summer salads, Asian dishes and fresh seafood (if you love our Great Western Riesling, this Pinot Gris is one to try…)
We are not making much of this wine and it will only be available in a few restaurants as well as online via our website. There is no guarantee that this will be a wine we make every year, but after tasting the new 2011 Best’s Great Western Pinot Gris 2011 we may just have give this a go again. Please let us know what you think after you try it!