Mt. Beautiful Pinot Gris 2016
Pair with chicken and bacon carbonara or whole baked Chinook salmon and especially rowdy dinner guests.
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Mt. Beautiful lies in the heart of North Canterbury, on the South Island of New Zealand. The Kaikoura Seaward Mountains lie to the North, while the Waiau River borders us to the North as well. The vineyard rests under its namesake, Mt. Beautiful. Mt. Beautiful crowns the coastal range to the East, and protects the vineyards from the ocean winds. Located about an hour and a half north of Christchurch on Route 1, Mt. Beautiful Winery is on the Northern fringe of the North Canterbury growing region. Lauded by many critics as New Zealand’s most underestimated wine region, it’s a place that has begun to get some incredible recognition. Mt. Beautiful’s wines are a stunning representation of the splendor of the region. The Sauvignon Blanc reaches through the herbaceous spectrum to carry flavors of tropical fruits, the Riesling is ripe with mandarin and citrus, the Pinot Gris is lush and exhibits a creamy mid palate, the Pinot Noir is soft, juicy, and inviting with a hint of cherry, and the Chardonnay is bursting with aromatics of ripe apple and stone fruits while finishing with a clean and crisp flint like minerality.
On the central eastern coast of the South Island, Canterbury includes a collection of small and varied subregions. The region is cool and dry with low rainfall and light, infertile soils. Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are well-suited here, with Pinot Gris coming in third place.
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.