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."
4 ½ Stars Michael Cooper (2019 Vintage)
"Showing strong personality, this partly barrel-fermented wine is freshly scented and full-bodied (13.5% alc/vol), with strong, vibrant, pear-like flavours, hints of lychees and spices, a touch of complexity, balanced acidity and a dryish, lingering finish."
Reviews for the 2018 vintage below…
Trophy for Champion Pinot Gris – Hawkes Bay A&P Wine Awards 2018
Gold Medal – New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards 2018
Gold Medal & 96/100 – New World Wine Awards 2018
Gold Medal – Hawkes Bay A&P Wine Awards 2018
96/100 NWWA (2018 Vintage)
"Attractive spiced red apple and pear aromas that continue through the palate. Rich and seamless with striking balance and finishing with an intriguing honeydew melon flavour. This is the quintessential food wine, great with chicken, fish and vegetarian dishes and also a great BYO wine."
5 Stars & 93/100 Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, March 2019 (2018 Vintage)
"Succulent, soothing and comforting, this delightful wine shows golden peach, rockmelon, pear and white floral aromas on the nose, followed by a succulent palate that is plump and lingering. The wine offers loads of tasty flavours backed by bright acidity, finishing long and delicious. At its best: now to 2020."