Pleasant surprises from a less-favoured variety

Regular readers will know that Pinot Gris is not my favourite grape variety: I enjoy it, but don’t reach for it as often, though I do recognise the importance of it in the marketplace. It’s like that old saying "different strokes for different folks".

But sitting down to today’s selection with my tasting buddies Collins and McLaren, we all felt that somehow the stars had aligned, as the wines shone across the board. It might be time for me to take a look at my predilections, and spread the net wider?

2023 Riverby Estate Single Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Gris

Price RRP $24
Rating Excellent
Beguiling fragrance, 
toffee apple, spices, 
pears, a little beeswax 
with aeration. Youthfully 
expressed, bright, 
carrying the characters 
from the nose through to 
the palate adding hints of 
gum and dry honey. 
Supple and rounded at 
first, then the racy acidity 
gets into work creating 
nice vibrancy. Dips a 
whisker on the close 
then roars back for a 
long, satisfying finish.

2022 McArthur Ridge Falls Dam Alexandra Pinot Gris

Price RRP $24.99
Rating Excellent
Preserved lemon, 
perfume, beeswax, 
shifting to pear and 
fruit pastille. Fills the 
mouth well, a touch of 
oiliness and richness, 
spices and a savoury 
quality, a bittersweet 
touch adding contrast 
to the long, honeyed 
finish. With aeration a 
wisp of salinity 
appears on both nose 
and palate along with a 
lemony note. Fruit 
sweet, just off-dry and 
very easy drinking.

2020 Carrick Organic Bannockburn Pinot Gris

Price RRP $32
Rating Excellent to Outstanding
Fascinating nose, a 
wisp of funk, quince, 
almond, apricot, honey 
with time, a sense of 
some development. 
Opens to creamy 
richness, super texture 
with a lemon drop note 
signalling a drier back 
half. Great integration, 
balance and 
complexity, the nose 
becoming simply 
gorgeous with the 
addition of ripe stone 
fruits and honey. Fresh, 
long dry close, 


2023 Ruru Central Otago Pinot Gris

Price RRP $25
Rating Excellent to Outstanding
Nose leaps out of the 
glass, pear to the fore, 
apricot, spices, 
cashew nut later. A 
crunchy, almost 
spritzy mouthfeel lends 
nice vibrancy and 
tingliness. Great depth 
of flavour moving from 
honeyed aspects to 
fruit pastille, apple, 
pear and citrussy 
nuances. Super 
balance and purity, the 
racy acidity brings real 
freshness. Just off-dry 
and drinking superbly 

2021 Main Divide North Canterbury Pinot Gris

Price RRP $21.99
Rating Excellent
Struck match, smoke, 
honey, lemony citrus, 
rose petal, musk, a 
busy nose. Richly 
mouthfilling, honey, 
spice, musk, nicely 
integrated with a little 
prickle on the tongue 
and vibrant acidity 
giving this lovely 
freshness. A touch of 
apricot kernel comes in 
on the finish, a counter 
to the fruit ripeness. 
Reduction more 
evident with time, but I 
like it. Lots to enjoy.

2022 Loveblock Organic Marlborough Pinot Gris

Price RRP $26.99
Rating Excellent
Dried/glazed fruits, 
par, apple a savoury 
musky aspect. The 
palate is youthfully 
expressed with 
crispness, anchored 
by lemon drops, apple 
and fruit pastille notes. 
All about the 
freshness, that 
backbone of acidity 
adding a sense of 
coolness to the close. 
Very nicely done. That 
fresh acidity would 
also make this a 
wonderful companion 
to food.