2016 Grange Of Prince Edward “Isabella Block” Pinot Gris, Prince Edward County VQA, Ontario, Canada (Alcohol 13%, Residual Sugar 3 g/L) Winery Direct $33 (750ml bottle)
Back in the days when I used to purchase wine for restaurants I ordered a fair bit of Grange’s Pinot Gris, but that was over a decade ago, and how things have changed. Back then the Pinot Gris was an inexpensive, extremely quaffable example of simple County fruit (as well as a no-brainer when it came to giving volume support to the then nascent P.E.C. wine industry); today, with this single-block selection, Grange are bottling what I feel may be the best white wine they have ever produced, and perhaps the best Ontario Pinot Gris I have ever tasted.
Another thing that has changed since back in the day is the labelling; with all due respect, the packaging of the Grange’s wines in years past left a great deal to be desired, but with this year’s new releases I think they have truly excelled themselves. Kudos has to go to the graphic designer here… excellent stuff, and very fitting with the winery’s recent marketing alongside their dalliances into all things “natural”.
I put the dramatic increase in quality down to a couple of factors, namely the age of the vines here (The Isabella block was planted back in 2002/3) and the growing confidence of Maggie Granger-Belcastro as a Winemaker.
I’m not exactly known for my love of skin-contact whites (read: whites made as reds), but there are undeniably a scant few out there that really turn me on, and this P.E.C. Pinot Gris just happens to be one of them.
The nose is pretty intense fruit-wise, with loads of ripe nectarine, bruised apple (but in a good way!), rose petal, and humid, wet earth/minerals. I’m all about texture in my Pinot Gris, and that is something this has in spades. And then there’s the tannin which, accompanied by this wine’s impressive refreshing crispness, is in no way tiring, but seriously adds to the palate’s complexity, and food-matching possibilities.
Finally there’s more of that elusive mineral component that was present on the nose lingering on the extended finish, rounding off a mighty impressive glass of County Pinot Gris.
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And that was really terrific. More please.