Mount Langi Ghiran Billi Billi Pinot Grigio 2009 (Grampians and Swan Hill, Vic)
$16, Screwcap, 11.0%
Pinot Grigio is an abomination right? A wine driven more by fads than a desire to come up with something tasty, yes? I thought much the same until a recent tasting of good Northern Italian examples (such as those from Lis Neris and Tieffenbruner) which proved that Pinot Grigio can be super refreshing – and even interesting – when done properly.
Yet I’d argue that no one in Australia has got the style right yet, and that Grigio in Australia fits mostly into the fad/abomination category.
However this Pinot Grigio, from the well respected team at Mount Langi, has already garnered plenty of critical acclaim, so I’m approaching this particular wine with a sense of hope. Hope and deliberate positivity, for in truth I could so easily savage a wine like this and then lament (at length) about domestic consumption figures, which show that the Australian public is drinking 3% more Pinot Gris and 3% less Riesling than they where in 2006.
But I’m not saying any of that this time….
Onto the wine:
Straw yellow in colour, even slightly pinkish. The nose is a bit indistinct, though that is arguably a varietal character, with some waxy pear fruit characters that are maturing quickly. What I don’t like is the tinny edge to the nose, which makes me think of warm climate/heavily cropped Semillon or unoaked Chardonnay. It is, though, a $16 wine, which must be taken into account.
The palate? Well, it’s obviously maturing quite quickly and doing the wine no favours in the process. That varietal pear character is now slightly honeyed, broad and awkward, with the residual sugar sitting like a gobstopper on the back palate and finish, ruining any chance the natural acidity had.
As a result, even given my brave positivity, I can’t bring myself to recommend this. I couldn’t even drink a glass of it. Perhaps 6 months ago it would have been a better drink (it was released in August last year) but now it is simply getting fat. Fat and ‘cheap tasting’, particularly through the finish.
The real question is though, when compared to other Gris/Grigio at the price, is it a goodun? And for the answer to that I’d have to say that I wouldn’t have a clue. I just don’t taste or drink enough $15 Pinot Grigio/Gris to be able to tell, and you could thus argue that, in a way, I am just not qualified to pass final comment on it’s relative quality vs price when compared to it’s competitors.
I do know, however, that $16 will buy you a shitload of good Riesling and Semillon…… 14.5/83