Very much the Alsace style with power and deep flavour of ripe pear.
Irvine Pinot Gris
Right from the time Marjorie and I first tasted Rulander in 1982, we fell in love with Pinot Gris (Rulander in Germany, Pinot Grigio in Italy, Pinot Gris in France). From then on it became a matter of time and tasting and understanding the Pinot Gris of Alsace and in later years the “Tribute” of T’Gallant.
Knowing that Pinot Noir grew well in Eden Valley meant that its cousin, Pinot Gris, should also grow well and we had the vineyard to do it.
Again another first for Irvine, and Eden Valley. As it happens the Pinot Gris grows on the highest, the windiest, the worst gravel patch on the whole of Springhill – aptly named – “Heartbreak Hill”, and yet it loves it there. The decision to follow the Alsace style of wine was easy for we have so little of it (about a hectare) and therefore it is better suited to make the rarer style rather than the Grigio.
We ripen the fruit to around 14 degrees, maintain the lower natural acidity if in balance, ferment cool, and sit the wine on the lees, stirring weekly. The taste alone determines the time on lees and when the textural reward is sufficient we clear the wine and bottle it. The lees contact time is about four months, usually.
Characteristics – here we look for softness, fullness, richness rather than crispness. Somewhat like the green Packham pear when fully ripe. So much fruit in the taste without sugar, and deep unctuous flavour, leaving the palate clean and rewarded.
Very much a food wine with the lower acidity and no oak to cut across the complexity of any particular dish. As an aperitif Eden Crest Pinot Gris is very satisfying – again the depth of flavour – its soft rewarding flowing nature plays a major role.
Pinot Gris will age well when made in this style as it has all the necessary components of higher alcohol and soft tannins (the soft pressings are added back) to assist this.
The colour may have the slightest tinge of pink when first released but this soon turns to gold. Remember it is a pink – light red skinned grape, so don’t be surprised if these is a “blush”.
As to food match – everything! Truly a red drinkers white!
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