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Anna and Jason Flowerday, owners and winemakers of Te Whare Ra in the Renwick sub-region of Marlborough are passionate about aromatic grape varieties and particularly those from Alsace. When they thought about planting Pinot Gris they specifically chose a clone that is low cropping, with small bunches and berries as they felt it would deliver the best quality fruit. And it does.
The Flowerdays put as much care into the production of their Pinot Gris as they do for all their other wines using low yields, organic and biodynamic production, hand picking and sorting, gentle pressing and minimal intervention.
Anna told me that they wanted to make a more subtle style of Pinot Gris, not one full of tropical fruits as is usual in New Zealand. So they keep the wine longer than usual on the lees and ferment about a third of the wine in used oak barrels (29% for this vintage); both of these give texture and complexity to the wine.
The 2019 vintage saw a lot of rain in spring which reduced yields and then a warm dry summer meant smaller berries and bunches; this combination means that the 2019 Pinot Gris has "great depth of flavour and fleshiness with purity of fruit, bright aromatics and ripe, juicy acidity". The wine still retains a really classy elegance and subtle aromas and flavours of ripe pears and apples, more stone fruits than tropical with hints of almond. It has quite a luscious mouthfeel which leads to a dry, almost stony, finish with a hint of spice. As delicious as ever!
Like all the TWR white wines I stock and their Pinot Noir, this wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians as no animal-based products are used - read my blog about how some wines might contain animal-derived products.
This dry white wine is beautiful to drink on its own but it will also pair well with spicy Chinese dishes and other Asian food.
"Finely structured with great purity and length of flavour and a lovely fleshiness. Lifted aromas of nashi pear, raspberry, red apple and white floral notes follow on to similar flavours along with savoury undertones which are balanced by a fine supple texture and lingering minerality."
95 points Sam Kim
"It’s gorgeously charming and inviting on the nose showing apricot, fresh pear, fig and blossom aromas, leading to a wonderfully flavoursome palate that’s filled with juicy fruit intensity. The wine is upfront and delectable, while remaining elegant and well structured by vibrant acidity, finishing long and smooth. Style: Dry. At its best: now to 2027."
94 points Cameron Douglas
"Potent bouquet loaded with fresh white flesh fruits, flowers and fragrant spices, enticing and exotic. On the palate – fantastic, exotic, spicy, fruity and fleshy with flavours of white fleshed fruits suggesting pear skin and apple, bosc pear and tropical fruit moments. A lovely wine, balanced and well made, youthful and long."
If you are not a fan of Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio, this wine will change your mind about that maligned grape & its wines. It is an Alsace style Pinot Gris - more stone fruits and minerality than tropical fruits, really elegant and subtle. It's a single vineyard organic Pinot Gris that is quite simply superb!