Aromatic White Wines
15th December 2017: Barry Weinman
Wine can be a little confusing at times, given that grapes often have alternative names when grown in different regions. A good example of this is Pinot Gris, which has a number of different names, depending on where it is grown: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinot_gris
When grown in Alsace, it is referred to as Pinot Gris, and produces an aromatic, fresh wine that can also take some bottle age. Whilst the same grape is called Pinot Grigio in Italy, and is made in a very different style, with much more neutral characters.
In Australia, both names are used interchangeably, and there does not appear to be a common approach as to when to use either name. I have tried some very fresh/fragrant Pinot Grigios for example.
Handorff Hill Winery – Pinot Grigio – Adelaide Hills – 2017 (18/20). This wine is pretty, fresh and aromatic, with rose petal, pear and lemony acid. A touch of viscosity combined with the well-managed phenolics and fruit characters that linger for some time, makes for a satisfying drink. A delicious wine that deserves a spot on every table this Christmas.
Cherubino – Pinot Blanc – Laissez Faire – 2016 (17.5/20 – $29). This has gentle aromatics and fine, almost feathery acid and is reminiscent of the wines from Alsace. Really nice mouth-feel, with the supple phenolics giving way to floral fruit characters, and the acid driving the finish. An excellent example of this little-seen variety and worth seeking out this summer.
Cherubino – Field Blend – Laissez Faire – 2016 (17.5/20pts – $29). Just smelling this wine made me yearn for food. Subtle aromatics showing a touch of turkish delight. The palate is quite neutral and has excellent mouth-feel. There is a bit of flesh to the mid-palate, but then it gets very dry to close. Bring on a piece of pan-fried snapper (a blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Gris).
Howard Park – Jete – Brut – NV (17.5/20). Refined bead. Complex and rich, with depth of fruit to the nose. The palate is fresh, with gentle toasty notes and subtle autolysis. A refined wine that will be very enjoyable as a late afternoon drink with friends.
Juniper Estate – Sauvignon Blanc – Crossing – 2017 (17.5/20 – $20). Tropical fruit and fresh lantana leap from the glass. The palate has the same fruit characters, though there is admirable restraint and balance. The inclusion of a portion of barrel-fermented fruit adds depth and supple texture.
Juniper Estate – Fiano – Small Batch – 2017 (17.3/20 – $27). A neutral, food-friendly wine, with enough acid to make the finish fresh. Textured, with some viscosity and a touch of phenolics. Good length. I really like the saline tang to close.