If farming is in the blood of ex-pat Scot Angus Thomson – he represents the fifth generation of Thomsons to work the land – then so too are wines and spirits. Both grandfathers were in the whisky business, but Angus broke new ground when he, along with wife Davina and their young family, sold the farm in Forres and started a new life in NZ. More than a decade later, the Thomsons have a 31-hectare vineyard at Gladstone, Wairarapa, on the southern coast of North Island, and a range of organic wines showing beautiful varietal expression. The guiding philosophy here is sustainability, in both the environmental and the economic sense, following organic and biodynamic principles in the vineyard. Aptly so, given that ‘Urlar’ means ‘the earth’ in Gaelic. There’s a reminder of home, too, in the herd of Highland cattle grazing the estate. These animals provide the manure for the Thomsons’ biodynamic Preparation 500 compost – and a link to Angus’ farming heritage.
To preserve the delicate aromatics and fruit character of Pinot Gris, the grapes were hand-harvested in the cool of the early morning. Pressing was whole-bunch, with only the free-run juice and lightest of pressings used to minimise unattractive phenolics. Traditional 100% barrel fermentation in old French oak was employed, with extended lees contact and lees stirring to give the wine''s mid-palate weight, texture and complexity. After a period of 12 months in barrel, the wine was fined using natural products and carefully filtered for bottling.
An opulent dry-styled wine with aromas of sweet pear, honeysuckle and stonefruit overlaying a generous mouth feel of great weight and depth. The creamy texture on the palate from the lees stirring provides the backbone to a long and lingering finish. An elegant wine with a beautiful balance that will reward cellaring up to five years.
We like this because it's a great example of a New World Pinot Gris, with oodles of flavour, from an ex-Perthshire acquaintance of ours.