Pinot Gris – a lighter shade of pale

Everyone loves it, or so sales suggest. Pinot Gris vineyard acreage in this country has doubled and re-doubled in the last two years. I’ve picked through the pack to find a couple of sleek beauties. One sip and you’ll discover why this wine style is hotter than Brad Pitt, the iPhone and Rodney Hide (I’m kidding about Rodney Hide).

Invivo Pinot Gris, Marlborough 2009 – $22.95

Why is Pinot Gris so popular? Perhaps because, as its name indicates, it’s a distant cousin of super-trendy red grape variety, Pinot Noir. I’m sure I’d be more popular if I was a relative of Sir Edmund Hillary, Tim Finn or HRH Queen Elizabeth (I’m kidding about HRH Queen Elizabeth). Gris means “gray” which does sound a bit gloomy. I’ve never been to Greymouth for that reason although Greytown is quite a cheerful place despite its name.

There’s nothing gloomy about Invivo Pinot Gris. It’s as fresh and gentle as a spring dawn in Greytown. An ultra-smooth texture and a finish that won’t quit are qualities that are shared by successful politicians like Winston Peters and top examples of Pinot Gris like this little beauty from Invivo. It’s moderately dry and will snuggle up to most delicately-flavoured to lightly-spiced dishes but is deliciously drinkable without the complication of food. – view on

Nautilus Pinot Gris, Marlborough 2008 – $29

If they were handing out knighthoods for making consistently top Pinot Gris this wine would have been made by Sir Nautilus.

I don’t know how they do it but Nautilus earns a spot in my top ten Pinot Gris list every year. This is one of their best efforts to date but if you leave it too late and can only find the 2009 vintage (tastings) I’m sure it will still be a top drop.

My tasting notes read: “This wine has the Nautilus signature of purity, power and a genuinely soft texture. Subtly succulent pear and peach fruit flavours linger on the pleasantly dry-ish finish. Stylish wine – one of the region’s best.”

You might have to shell out a little more for Nautilus but if you’re after a state-of-the-art Pinot Gris it will be worth every cent. – view on

First published in KiaOra Magazine – Nov 2009.

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