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Featured Reviews

The Luminary and Pencarrow 2018 Pinot Gris

27 December,2018

Pinot Gris came later on the scene for the New Zealand wine industry, after fellow aromatics Gewurztraminer and Riesling, but has now well-overtaken these varieties by far. It is the fourth most prolific variety after Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with approx. 2,500 ha planted, well ahead of Riesling at around 700 ha and Gewurztraminer at 230 ha.

Most wine producers with a broad portfolio have Pinot Gris in the mix, and Palliser Estate in Martinborough is no exception. Besides the Palliser ‘Estate’ wine, there is the ‘Pencarrow’ second brand and ‘The Luminary’ a range designed for FMCG channels. Winemaker Allan Johnson has been right down the middle of the line stylistically with these wines, which are based on stonefruit and floral flavours, with honied notes on an off-dry palate where oak is not employed, and other inputs that could take away from the fruit expression kept at a very minimal level. It’s the most popular and expected style. Here, I review the new release 2018 ‘The Luminary’ and ‘Pencarrow’ Pinot Gris.

And a recent development, Allan Johnson, Palliser’s chief winemaker and viticulturist ha stepped down from his role. Allan joined Palliser Estate in 1991 and has developed the company’s wines to its very high level of quality and consistency. Guy McMaster, who arrived at Palliser Estate in 2016, following time at Urlar in Gladstone, and Escarpment in Martinborough previously will take over from Allan.


The Luminary Martinborough Pinot Gris 2018

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington


Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues and a little depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is fresh, firm and taut with a core of white stonefruits entwined with white florals and thirst-quenching mineral elements. The aromatics build in intensity with aeration. Dryish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a tightly bound, elegant heart of white and yellow stonefruits with lifted florals, lush honeysuckle nuances and some mineral notes. The wine flows along a fine-textured line with integrated and balanced acidity, leading to a clean, fresh, moderately lingering finish. This is a taut and elegantly concentrated dry Pinot Gris with stonefruit, floral and honeysuckle notes on a fine-textured palate. Match with most white meat dishes over the next 2-3 years. Fruit from the company’s ‘Om Santi’ and ‘East Base’ vineyards, fermented in stainless-steel to 13.1% alc. and 6 g/L RS, the wine aged 3 months on lees. 17.0+/20 Dec 2018 RRP $19.50

Pencarrow Martinborough Pinot Gris 2018

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington


Bright, straw-yellow colour, lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full and gently fragrant with rich aromas of white and yellow stonefruits, some honeysuckle, and nuances of exotic florals, unfolding some mouthwatering mineral notes. Off-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has sweetly rich and lush flavours of honeysuckle entwined harmoniously with white and yellow stonefruits and exotic floral notes. The palate has a fresh, but rounded mouthfeel with good presence, ad the wine carries with fine textures along a well-defined line and balanced acidity to a moderately sustained finish. This is a gentle and rounded off-dry Pinot Gris with honeysuckle, stonefruit and floral flavours with good palate presence. Serve with Asian fare over the next 3 years. Fruit from the company’s ‘East Base’ and ‘Om Santi’ vineyards, fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 7 g/L RS, the wine aged 7 months on lees. 18.0/20 Dec 2018 RRP $23.15

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