The Perfect Spring Wine?
The wine I have for you today might just be the perfect wine for spring. I kid you not when I say I wrote in my notes “this is spring in a bottle”. What it is: Nothing short of beautifully floral, aromatically rich, refreshingly zingy, skin-contact Pinot Gris from the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough, New Zealand. Best part? It’s under 14 bucks a bottle for members.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Marisco Vineyards ‘The Ned’ Pinot Gris 2018.
Now, being a skin-contact white wine, this is technically an orange wine, though, you wouldn’t know it upon inspecting what’s in the glass. The wine has a delicate salmon hue, so it looks like a rosé, but it’s not.
Rosé = Red grapes with very little skin contact.
Orange wine = White grapes with much skin contact.
Semantics asides, this wine is ab-so-lute-ly incredible for the money. The nose on this wine alone is enough to wake you up from your winter hibernation and cure any remaining Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Here are my notes:
Straight from the glass, a sweet bouquet of strawberry, kiwi, persimmon, and florals. Just so expressive, like spring in a bottle. Similar NZ Sauvignon Blanc in terms of nose tingling intensity, but leans more ripe strawberry and floral than grassiness, pyrazines, or grapefruit. In the mouth, the wine is delicate, but refreshing with a touch of residual sugar. Not enough to throw the wine out of balance or make you think “this is sweet” – the acidity buttresses the sweetness leaving you think it was fermented dry. The skin-contact adds a whole other dimension, giving the wine texture, body, and depth, filling your mouth rather than sliding down your tongue.
The Ned is a project started by Marisco Vineyards founder, Brent Marris, who grew up on some of the first vineyards ever planted in Marlborough. As a young winemaker, he was involved in getting several other NZ wineries off the ground before going out on his own. With the vast knowledge he built up as a youngster, exploring the local area and what he had learned later as a Marlborough viticulturist and winemaker, Marris found an exceptional 268 hectare property on the banks of the Waihopai River. Named after one of the tallest peaks to the southeast of the vineyard that he used to climb as a kid, The Ned is a deeply personal project for Marris.
Some wines just seem to match so perfectly the sounds, smells, and sights of the season. For me, The Ned Pinot Gris is the perfect match for spring. The pinkish hue, the intense aroma of florals and strawberries, the subtle richness from the skins, and the eye-opening freshness of this wine…I don’t often drink Pinot Gris, but when I do, it’s 65 degrees and sunny with birds singing in the background. I’m buying a case to get me through May - - that is, if I can make it last.