Sunshine in a glass

Before writing this, I was out early watering various plants in pots, admiring the surfeit of herbs, salad greens and vegetables that a combination of my labour and the summer sun (when it showed up) has given me.

Around the country, the summer bounty of fruit has also been ripening, amongst them grapes. Pinot gris, with its vivid fruit, commonly across the spectrum of stonefruit flavours, does capture the essence of summer sunshine in a glass. A gift of Mother Nature, and all who toil in our vineyards.


2021 Hawkshead Central Otago Pinot Gris


Price RRP $31.75
Rating Very good to excellent

Perfumed, gum, pear,
almond, a charry hint
with aeration. The
palate echoes the
nose, creaminess
developing as it opens
up with a little chalky
nuance too. Quite dry
with bright acidity and
good carry, picking up
notes of lemon drops
with further aeration.
The almondy character
grows adding a
bittersweet quality to
the close. In the slot to
enjoy now.


2021 Ruru Central Otago Pinot Gris

Price Cellar Door $24
Rating Excellent

Fascinating nose, pear
and wine gums lead
with sauvignon blanc-
like gooseberry and
grassy notes
following. Attractively
pungent. Initially fruit,
sweet yet dry, offering
flavours of greengage
plum, pear, quince
with a touch of apple
rounded off with a
long finish.  The
sweetness is a bit
more dominant with
time, but overall this is
rather moreish and a
real crowd pleaser.


2019 Carrick Organic Bannockburn Pinot Gris

Price RRP $28
Rating Excellent

Vibrant nose with
spiced pears, apple,
perfume and a wisp of
wildness. Full in the
mouth, almost oily,
again the pear and
apple with spices,
nuttiness and a sour
cream-like lactic note.
There’s structure here
making this a little
more serious and it
ends on a delightful
tanginess and
brightness. I can see
this also working well
with food.


2021 Astrolabe Marlborough Pinot Gris

Price RRP $28
Rating Very Good to Excellent

Wine gums, musk,
nashi pear and
savoury, nutty
characters are
expressed on the nose.
A wisp of "West’s
Pineapple & Pear"
shows a riper side to
the fruit, with nuttiness
and a lemony note
framing the close.
Crisp acidity with a
crunchy feel to the
palate adds brightness.
Feels open and ready
for business, good all-
round appeal and rather


2019 Elephant Hill Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris

Price RRP $24
Rating Very Good to Excellent

A hint of struck
match, hay/straw,
tropical fruit, apricot
and apricot kernel.
There’s something a
little different about
this, relatively
subtle, picking up a
grainy element and
chewiness to the
texture with a
bittersweet element.
The palate gains a
hint of salinity and
the flavours begin to
swell. A bit of
intrigue here.


2021 Rabbit Ranch Central Otago Pinot Gris

Price RRP $19.50
Rating Very Good to Excellent

Juicy Fruit gum,
sweetly fruited and
perfumed at first,
shifting to hay and a
savoury nuance. A
core of salinity runs
through this, giving
a delightfully lip-
smacking close that
leaves you
salivating. Apple and
nutty hints hit some
different buttons as
the sweetness
builds with time. The
zestiness makes this
a nice food choice.


2021 Astrolabe Sleepers Vineyard Kekerengu Coast Pinot Gris

Price RRP $30
Rating Very Good to Excellent

Honeysuckle, bath
salts, nutty
stonefruit. There’s a
sweet ‘n’ sour
quality to this at first,
the underlying fruit
sweetness matched
by tanginess. Nuts,
almonds, a little fruit
pithy character,
growing in fatness.
Pear with aeration,
as the fruit
sweetness grows
nicely. Quite a
refreshing style.


2020 Church Road Gwen Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris


Price RRP $25
Rating Very Good

Perfumed notes,
mixed nuts, apple, a
tangy quality. Boiled
sweets lead the
palate yet this is
quite dry, adding
notes of anise,
nuttiness and hay
bale with a lick of
salinity. There’s a
coolness to this
driven by the lemony
acidity with a steely,
minerally aspect too.
A tangy, zesty style,
fitting well on a hot
summer’s day.

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