2021 Pinot Gris
The 2021 Vintage was…well…hard to describe. I will do my best to shed some light on it from the unique perspective of my Pinot Gris. The following is their firsthand account, and yes, grapes can talk if you are willing to listen.
Coming off a growing season like 2020, that even the crotchetiest of farmers and winemakers would agree was a spectacular one off, we were surely bound for a letdown in 2021…or were we?
The spring and summer of 2021 was splendid, as our buds came out early and thrived in the warm and dry conditions. The crop did appear to be a little heavy, but nothing that we couldn’t handle ripening given the “2020” rose-coloured glasses of recent memory.
At first, we welcomed the abundance of precipitation in July, but suddenly that little bit of extra fruit became a quickly swelling burden that needed to be addressed with substantial cluster thinning. Veraison came early, near the end of July, when the first signs of what would come to haunt us later in the vintage, rode in on the choking humidity.
August was a hazy memory of 30+ degree heat and welcome sun, with a brief respite from the rain and humidity. All ripening parameters were progressing nicely as the calendar flipped to September. Idyllic warm days and cool nights lulled us into a false sense of security.
Scribbled in the caring vineyard manager’s notes for September 8th: “an obscene amount of rain overnight and through the next day, approx. 100 mm!”
Cue visions of exploding Pinot berries set to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
Miraculously, however, our berries did not explode. Within a week they had shed the excess water weight and were ready to harvest on September 13th. No one is quite sure just how this unprecedented rain event didn’t have more effect on the fruit condition, but there is some thought that much of the water ran off before absorption, and that perhaps it came at a time when things had started to shut down from the extreme heat. Whatever the case, we were extremely lucky to end up with fruit rivalling that harvested in 2020. Enjoy!
There is something uniquely tropical about this Pinot Gris compared to previous vintages. I get notes of baked banana, sweet coconut and lemon drop candy. It was left ever so slightly off-dry and has the familiar Pinot Gris weight and texture that I’ve grown to love.
One behind the curtain note is that this wine was the showstopper on filtration day. My Dad helps me with filtration every year, and it is often his first exposure to the wines. I try not to get overly emotional about his reactions, but I must confess to an inkling of pride that day when he complemented me on this Pinot Gris.