I’m shallow and pretentious; there’s no other explanation for leaving this wine untouched at the bottom of the sample pile for so long. In my defense, some kind of filter is more or less a necessity when there’s so much wine out there; one can’t simply taste it all. And if I instinctively gravitate towards varieties and regions I am experienced with and attracted to, is this really so wrong?
It is if I miss out on nice wines. This bottle is a lesson in something unexpected (Pinot Gris d’Orange?) turning out to be bloody good. Perhaps not so unexpected, though; Orange has been steadily working its way towards some serious cool climate cred over the past few years, and Pinot Gris is a variety I usually prefer to drink when made into a wine that retains some elegance and shape. Add some clever winemaking and you’re almost there.
The rest comes through on tasting. The aroma is full and lush, with a sharp edge of citrus helping notes of subtle oatmeal and stonefruit to express with fresh vitality. There’s real complexity and depth to this wine’s smell, which is both unexpected and fascinating. I’m not used to tasting a reasonably-priced Pinot Gris with such character. It’s reads as an odd combination of Hunter Semillon and slighty busty Chardonnay, but with its own sense of integrity.
On entry, an immediate rush of fruit flavour and a level of intensity that confirms the nose isn’t a fluke. Flavours are simple and citrus-driven at first, building towards a lees-influenced middle palate that takes several steps up in sophistication. While it’s a bit of a sledgehammer of a wine, and its fruit flavours show a little too much sweetness for my taste, there’s good detail in its flavour profile and several layers to its texture. Mealy stonefruit peaks through the after palate, and the finish is impressively long.
What a pleasant surprise. Went exceptionally well with a simple omelette of ocean trout and goat’s cheese.