Solo Sojourn – 2011 Vin Koru Pinot Gris, New Zealand.

First things first – Pinot Gris is exactly the same thing as Pinot Grigio. Just the French & Italian names for the same varietal. Not unlike Shiraz and Syrah – Australian and French for the same grape. The metamorphosis of nomenclatures as grapes migrate from their home terroir to new exotic locations is just one dimension of a fascinatingly nuanced and intricate subject. It is what makes wine so interesting for me. And frustrating for some who may see a hidden conspiracy to maintain the mystery and snobbery around wine. It is not hard to see why stalwarts of the wine world consistently say “the learning  and discovery does not end.”

Pinot Gris is not one of the big three whites i.e. Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Together these top three take the largest share of the market, and have been the focus of my own self structured study. As my wine education progresses, however, I find myself seeking the lesser known varietals. Aside from an interesting name & country of origin, this quest for the uncommon prompted me to pick up a bottle of Vin Koru Pinot Gris from New Zealand on a recent trip to TJ’s.

This is one occasion when I reversed the practice of researching and reading before tasting. I went straight to the tasting. It was interesting that my tasting notes seemed to pick up on the typical characteristics of Pinot Gris that research later revealed.

A little about the varietal. Pinot Gris finds its natural home in Alsace, France, but has been well adapted in Oregon, British Columbia & New Zealand. Despite a commonality in the grape substrate, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio wines differ in style. The former tending to be more fruity & juicy and the latter crisp and sharp. On the body style spectrum, generally Pinot Gris lies somewhere between Riesling (light) and Sauvignon Blanc (Medium). The disclaimer being this also depends entirely on the vintner and wine style. It is a cool zone varietal with some of the best wines coming from Alsace. Its scent is similar to but richer than Riesling. Quince, marmalade and candied fruit are common scents. Compared to Riesling, it seems almost “plump” in the mouth. Fruit tastes echo those in the scent. The aftertaste lingers long.

My rating for this Pinot Gris is modest and not representative of what one might expect from this varietal in general. Look for reports on a few more of these in coming weeks.

2011  Vin   Koru Pinot Gris, New Zealand. $5.99
Color Clear, water like, very light bodied appearance.
Nose Fruity, juicy, touch of lime, some floral notes. Chardonnay like oakiness.
Taste Semi dry. Medium body belied the exceedingly light   appearance. Mild & soft with closed, blunt fruitiness. Rounded. Suppressed zest. Pleasantly bitter finish that lingers. Hint of mineral.
Remarks Closed & tentative. Unremarkable. Reasonable value for money.
Rating 4
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2 Responses to Solo Sojourn – 2011 Vin Koru Pinot Gris, New Zealand.

  1. Diane Peters says:

    I personally enjoy this more than some of the more expensive. You could tell me where I might purchase it in the Portland Oregon area other than Trader Joe’s. They have been out for over six weeks and don’t know when it will be available again. It is fabulous. Thank you, Diane

    • vinological says:

      Thank you for your comment Diane. I agree this wine is great value. Seems like it is available in the US only at Trader Joes and my store in Indianapolis is out of it too. Wish I could help you. Maybe one of my other readers has more info. I will be sure to keep you posted if I find out more……..

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