Esk Valley were early adapters of this now popular variety with the first commercial release in 2001. Winemaker Gordon Russell has played around with the style over the years and has now settled on what he equates to a dry Pinot Grigio (but with plenty of flavour!), rather than the sweeter Alsace style. The grapes are now picked earlier and then fermented with natural yeasts (some in older oak) with some lees contact to help build layers of flavour but without losing freshness.
Winery notes (2019 Vintage)
"This is a full bodied style of Pinot Gris with a hint of residual sugar to balance the natural acidity. Barrel fermentation in seasoned barriques provides the wine with richness and the early picked fruit provides fresh, natural acidity. Aromatics and flavours of stone fruit, honey and pears are evident with a hint of spice providing complexity."
5 Stars, Top 5 & Best Buy Cuisine Pinot Gris Tasting, February 2020 (2019 Vintage)
"Gentle delicate aromas of baked apple and pear with a hint of residual sugar playing on the palate. Full-bodied and complex with silky creamy bakedpeach- crumble characteristics. A vibrant, young and fresh wine that has a gorgeous lengthy finish to offer."
5 Stars Michael Cooper (2019 Vintage)
"Retasted in mid 2020, the pale straw 2019 vintage was grown at Maraekakaho and partly (15 per cent) barrel-fermented. Invitingly scented, it is full-bodied and fleshy, with generous, vibrant, pear-like flavours, hints of lychees and spices, a distinct touch of complexity, a slightly oily texture and a basically dry (4.7 grams/litre residual sugar), lingering finish. Unfolding very gracefully, it offers excellent value."