2014 Pinot Gris (Arroyo Seco)
This grape was originally discovered in Burgundy sometime in the Middle Ages as a mutation of Pinot Noir, and is genetically identical to its parent except for a single gene, and shares its florality, oily mouthfeel and stone fruit aromas as well as tremendous sensitivity to the terroir of a specific site.
Arroyo Seco is a sink hole in Monterey Valley sheltered from its daily high winds and famed for its lushness and peach aromas in whites as varied as Riesling and Chardonnay. Doug Meador’s famous vineyard has special rocky soils that impart a racy minerality. These cool conditions impart good ripeness so fruit can be harvested at relatively low brix yet still have time to acquire rich, ripe flavors.
Pinot Gris is really a pink grape, and can impart tannins that interfere with its graceful, oily palate impression and suppress aromatics in youth. To prevent this, tannins were removed at the juice stage by hyper-oxygenative browning and flotation, resulting in a silky mouthfeel and alluring bouquet. Fifty percent of the juice was fermented in neutral French oak barrels to enhance palate weight; the other fifty percent in small stainless steel barrels to preserve its freshness character.
The resulting wine is very delicate and alarmingly quaffable, yet its seductive aromatics provide the same dreamlike ethereality ne finds in the best Pinot Noirs of Northern Burgundy. Its tannins are entirely silky and it is most at home with a firm fish such as grilled swordfish or with rich shellfish dishes such as oyster stew, scallops or lobster bisque, and will serve well to wash down a plate of mussels sauced with garlic, butter and the very same wine. Its main flaw is its tendency to disappear more rapidly than one might wish.