2013 Spy Valley Envoy Johnson Vineyard Pinot Gris, Marlborough
The Envoy Range represents the highest level in Spy Valley offering, a winery famous and respected for its aromatic wines in particular.
Pinot Gris is obviously being classified as an aromatic grape variety, and the Marlborough region isfamous for delivering some the world’ best aromatic wines (Sauvignon Blanc in particular). So expectations are rather high for Spy Valley’s flagship PG. But let’s find out more!
This Envoy Pinot Gris is sourced from the Johnson Estate River Block, in the Wahopai valley, a sub-zone of the larger Marlborough region of New Zealand. This vineyard has shallow and stony soils that is excessively draining.
This is what the producer says about it:
“An unassuming grape that has found a perfectly suited site on a sheltered part of our lower terrace ‘C Block’, tucked in a corner where successive flood events have deposited rich layers of mineral laden soils and overlaid them with gravels. This strata is sometimes stony on the surface but with veins of richness not far beneath. The vines enjoy balanced growth once established and consistently produce tight bunches with small berries. Fruit selection occurs in the vineyard from the best performing clonal selections during the season.”
So how good is this Top-of-the-range Marlborough ‘Gris’ by Spy Valley Winery?
As always, the answer is in the tasting notes:
A luscious, rich and powerfully aromatic Pinot Gris.
Ripe stonefruits: peach and apricot, together with fresh fig and confit ginger notes make for a richly-fruity nose. Honey and elderflower remind of a Gewurztraminer.
This to say it definitely doesn’t lack in fruity exuberance.
But there’s a slight background of grassiness to it as well, which makes it smell like a Pinot Grigio (which makes sense, since it is). So the whole is quite complex display the entire typical Gris/Grigio spectrum.
The palate is mid-dry (a bit sweeter than off-dry) so this is not a dry Gris although no particular mention on the label suggests it’s quite sweet. In France, this sort of sweetness level would come as as ‘Vendange Tardive. In Germany, something around an Auslese (Grauburgunder that would be).
There’s a rich body, plenty of alcohol (about 14.5% ABV) but it never feels like it, but comes through summery-fresh instead. Good acidity and overall balance.
A good, concentrated, and enjoyably fragrant Pinot Gris like one doesn’t find very often.
The wine really showcases the positive attributes of the grape variety, as well as the qualities of its growing environment here in Marlborough that seems to always enhance and boosts natural grape flavors.
A little downside however, we regretted Sulphur Dioxide is a little prominent.
Well you know, anything, or everything should I say that pairs with a rather sweet but not very sweet wine. We’d have a preferences for Asian cuisine and delicate desserts (that are not too sweet which would kill the wine, prefer slightly bitter ones like dark chocolate patisserie for example).
Like we explicited in our Guide to Pairing Wine & Salad, Pinot Gris is often a good match greens and subtle entrees. This one is no exception.