This week's Wine of the Week is going to be popular with Pinot Gris fans. That's because it's one yummy Pinot Gris. It's a wine that won gold in the recent New Zealand International Wine Show and now that I've tasted the wine in leisurely circumstances and with food, I can state it's a most deserving winner.
It's made by Greystone, a company that's not really crossed my radar before. Based in Waipara, they arrived on the scene since my last real foray into Waipara Wine Country, five years ago.
Checking out the Waipara Wine website, there are several more new names, to me, now there too. I'm obviously going to have to make time to update my Waipara wine region page.
The first Greystone wines were released in 2004. Now the range includes Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Greystone Waipara Pinot Gris 2007 is delicately scented with hints of rose petal, pear and melon. When the wine is first poured, the scent is a little 'shy', but there's nothing shy at all about the flavour. It's off dry to the taste with hints of musk, lime sherbet and flowers and classic pear flavours - like when I stew freshly picked pears, from the trees in the back yard, with a little butter and cloves. The wine is ever so slightly viscous in its oily texture, which gives it a gorgeous mouthfeel. It has body and presence and leaves a beautiful, almost creamy flavour with tropical fruit lingering long after the wine is swallowed. It's a full-bodied white with 14% alcohol and the well-balanced residual sugar clocks in 10.5 grams per litre. Sealed with a screwcap, it costs $24 a bottle.
Bruce Thomas, the man behind Greystone Wines, is a mad keen trout fisherman and likes to drink his wines with his catch. But to have trout, you have to catch it or be given it. No such luck for us. Nevertheless, we did match the wine to seafood.
The starter was fresh scallops, sauteed in butter, flamed in brandy and garnished with finely chopped coriander and parsley. Then to follow was virgin snapper pan-fried in a little butter and gurnard that was first rolled in gently seasoned flour and then pan-fried in butter with a sprinkling of Thai basil just before the fillets were removed from the pan.
Fish is definitely a winner Greystone Waipara Pinot Gris 2007 but especially the scallops. The wine had the power to stand up to the richness of the shellfish without overpowering the delicate intrinsic flavours.
Also on the tasting table were three other wines from Greystone.
Greystone Waipara Sauvignon Blanc 2007 is soft, green and grassy smelling with hints of lemon and perhaps even a nuance of 'sweat'. Soft and just a little austere to start but very quickly the vibrant citrus, melon, tropical fruit and apple flavours fill the palate with their fruitiness and there's a delicate infusion of summer herbs. A delicious accompaniment to the gurnard and Thai basil and naturally spiffing with the side of herb and tomato studded green salad.
Greystone Waipara Riesling 2007 is gorgeous. Seemingly soft at first, like the savvie, it's a little slow to start but quickly transforms to fill the palate with its vibrant, juicy, lime and tangelo zestiness. Medium sweet with moderate alcohol and racy acidity, this mouthwatering wine has a long, long finish. Surprisingly sensational with the scallops, especially when well salted and topped with plenty of the herbs but consider this wine for a barbecue because the next night it was a bright fresh accompaniment to pork and pineapple bangers.
Greystone Waipara Chardonnay 2006 is full of spicy oak aromas and butterscotch-infused creamy flavours with a citrussy brightness and apricot fruit. It's medium-bodied with a Burgundian-like nutty undercurrent and while drinking nicely now, I think it has the potential to blossom even more with just a little more time.
Nick Gill is the viticulturist and Dominic Maxwell makes the wines. They seem to be doing a great job. Check out the website -
© Sue Courtney
22 Oct 2007