Astrolabe Marlborough Pinot Gris 2018
Light straw bin color. Pear and quince, light peach and citrus rind and a whiff of cardamom and nougat on the nose. The palate is pure and focused with a delicacy of structure, finishing crisp and dry. Stonefruit and pear flavors dominate, followed by some light citrus.
Great as an aperitif, with shellfish and seafood, pates, poultry, pork and light game as well as creamy mushroom or egg dishes.
An astrolabe is an ancient astronomical calculator with a name that translates as ‘star taker’. In 1996, when respected career winemaker Simon Waghorn started his own label, reaching for the stars seemed appropriate, and he chose the name Astrolabe. Working in a profession at the conflux of art and science, there is a certain affinity with the artisans who painstakingly crafted these often ornate instruments. Simon has since established a benchmark style of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and has been described by New Zealand’s leading Master of Wine, Bob Campbell, as a ‘Sauvignon
After the international success of his Sauvignon Blanc established Astrolabe’s reputation, Simon gave up his other winemaking commitments to focus on Astrolabe, which has now become a family winery. Simon often refers to Marlborough as a winemaker’s paradise for of its ability to produce world class aromatic white wine and Pinot Noir. Simon has long been an advocate for the recognition of sub-regional diversity within Marlborough. His convictions are reflected in the wines he makes: a diverse range of varieties from small plantings around Marlborough with different expressions of
terroir. Simon sources fruit from across the whole Marlborough growing region, pushing as far as the southern coast, where limestone soils can be found.
Astrolabe is a winemaker brand, and Simon Waghorn makes the wines to suit his personal palate. Simons crafts his Astrolabe wines with precision and harmony, capturing Marlborough’s intense fruit and leaving the connoisseur to discover the measured layering of flavors and different dimensions as they savor each glass.
Showing a unique rosy, purplish hue upon full ripeness, this “white” variety is actually born out of a mutation of Pinot Noir. The grape boasts two versions of its name, as well as two generally distinct styles. In Italy, Pinot Grigio achieves most success in the mountainous regions of Trentino and Alto Adige as well as in the neighboring Friuli—all in Italy’s northeast. France's Alsace and Oregon's Willamette Valley produce some of the world's most well-regarded Pinot Gris wine. California produces both styles with success.
Where Does Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio Come From?
Pinot Gris is originally from France, and it is technically not a variety but a clone of Pinot Noir. In Italy it’s called Pinot Grigio (Italian for gray), and it is widely planted in northern and NE Italy. Pinot Gris is also grown around the globe, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand. No matter where it’s made or what it’s called, Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio produces many exciting styles.
Tasting Notes for Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio is a dry, white wine naturally low in acidity. Pinot Grigio wines showcase signature flavors and aromas of stone fruit, citrus, honeysuckle, pear and almond. Alsatian styles are refreshing, expressive, aromatic (think rose and honey), smooth, full-bodied and richly textured and sometimes relatively higher in alcohol compared to their Italian counterpart. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is often light and charming. The focus here is usually to produce a crisp, refreshing, lighter style of wine. While there are regional differences of Pinot Grigio, the typical profile includes lemon, lime and subtle minerality.
Pinot Grigio Food Pairings
The viscosity of a typical Alsatian Pinot Gris allows it to fit in harmoniously with the region's rich foods like pork, charcuterie and foie gras. Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, with its citrusy freshness, works well as an aperitif wine or with seafood and subtle chicken dishes.
Given the pinkish color of its berries and aromatic potential if cared for to fully ripen, the Pinot Grigio variety is actually one that is commonly used to make "orange wines." An orange wine is a white wine made in the red wine method, i.e. with fermentation on its skins. This process leads to a wine with more ephemeral aromas, complexity on the palate and a pleasant, light orange hue.
An icon and leading region of New Zealand's distinctive style of Sauvignon blanc, Marlborough has a unique terroir, making it ideal for high quality grape production (of many varieties). Despite some common generalizations, which could be fairly justified given that Marlborough is responsible for 90% of New Zealand's Sauvignon blanc production, the wines from this region are actually anything but homogenous. At the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, the vineyards of Marlborough benefit from well-draining, stony soils, a dry, sunny climate and wide temperature fluctuations between day and night, a phenomenon that supports a perfect balance between berry ripeness and acidity.
The region’s king variety, Sauvignon blanc, is beloved for its pungent, aromatic character with notes of exotic tropical fruit, freshly cut grass and green bell pepper along with a refreshing streak of stony minerality. These wines are made in a wide range of styles, and winemakers take advantage of various clones, vineyard sites, fermentation styles, lees-stirring and aging regimens to differentiate their bottlings, one from one another.