K McCarthy’s Pinot Gris Spectrum


Published by Nicole Russell - 11th Apr 2017

Hold tight till July 16 – reminder! WK2!

With the 2016 vintage of Heresy we have explored the stylistic range of Pinot G. We have drawn on our 25 years of working with this fascinating variety, and particularly our experience in Italy, where it is known as Pinot Grigio, and in France, where it is known as Pinot Gris.

And we have utilised the “language” we helped create with the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI), i.e. the Pinot G Spectrum.

So, we have produced a Pinot “Grigio”; crisp and super fresh, like biting into a perfect Nashi pear. This is picked earlier in the vintage.

And, a Pinot “Gris”; rich and voluptuous, more decadent and hedonistic. This is picked later in the vintage.

The winemaking for both wines is the same; the difference lies in the fruit, i.e. the stage of harvest. At the beginning of harvest the grape sugar is relatively low, around 20 Brix and the acid relatively high, around 8 g/l. As the grapes further ripen the sugar rises and the acid drops. And very importantly for this variety, the phenolics ripen. It is the phenolics in the skin that give the silky, luscious mouthfeel the French call “gras”, as in foie gras. I.e. the “Gris” has “gras”.

Borrowing a name from the two most important wine cultures in Europe is well and good, but to identify the styles objectively we developed the Pinot G Spectrum. This enables us to “calibrate” what is in the bottle across a ten point scale.

Thus, we see that the 2016 Heresy Pinot Grigio sits at 3.6* on the scale and the 2016 Heresy Pinot Gris sits at 6.2*.

Enough of that, the most important thing about wine is enjoyment; and to really enjoy wine it must accompany food.

The fascinating exercise now is to work out which foods go best with the Pinot ‘Grigio” and which go best with the Pinot “Gris”.

I know what I think; but what about you?”

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