Mud House South Island Pinot Gris 2009, New Zealand

New Zealand only produces Sauvignon Blanc, right? Not true, but your local wine salesman just might not be aware of anything else from the Kiwi Kingdom. In fact, Sauvignon Blanc does make up about 60% of NZ annual wine production – in terms of volume. So what do they make with the other 40%? Pinot Gris, for example, is crop that wine growers in New Zealand are proving to be adept at choosing the right areas to plant the vines and turning the resulting grapes into solid wine. Pinot Gris, or Pinot Grigio as it is known to Italians, seems to have a Chardonnay like ability to do well in a wide variety of climates and geographies. The Mud House ’09 Pinot Gris smells a little bit like walking by middle-eastern styled Hookah parlour, where patrons smoke fruit extracts in elaborate pipes. The fragrance isn’t too strong but it certainly fills an area quickly. Like the Hookah rooms, the wine smells of apricot and citrus with a chalky binding. The wine rolls around your mouth nicely with notes of pear, citrus, cantaloupe and tomato vines with tangible acidity on the finish.

Music match: French songstress Charlotte Gainsbourg teaming up with Calexico, an Mexican inspired alt-county outfit from the US, for a cover of Bob Dylan’s Just Like a Woman. The wine works flavour components that could easily come from a wine that seems more angular than round. Gainsbourg’s wispy whispering, and a muted minimalistic arrangement of the folk classic come together and make this song sound more full(er) with less filler. Legendary guitarist Pete Townshend knew how to make his guitar playing sound big by occasionally letting notes play themselves out before moving on to his next strum. The wine tends to work the same way – it achieves a vibrant picture that covers all the corners of the canvas without the artist ever over crowding the palate. Big, not busy – good stuff.

Leave a comment and me know what wine you would match with this music.

Part 1/5 in the BottleDJ Fall Classic Focus on New Zealand.

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