Pours with a nice pink copper hue. Aromas in the glass are fruity – various stone fruits and fresh quince, all wrapped in the lightest veil of something smokey. A fresh and appetising wine, with the chewy fruit loosening up with air, before a nice savoury character takes hold. Nice!

Bourke Street Pinot Gris is made by Alex McKay from fruit grown by Brian Freeman in Prunevale. Someone wiser than me has said that for great, focused Pinot Gris (from Alsace), look to those who make a lean Riesling. Hence, Alex McKay. His Rieslings may not be lean, but they are more so than fleshy, and definitely focused. Close enough!

Winemaking was pretty straightforward. Couple of hours of skin contact, wild ferment, extended rest in stainless steel. We aren't amongst the greats of Alsace, perhaps, but that wasn't the idea here, either: this is 'just' a really nice drink. No sweet heft, as often found in Gris wines, just really nice fruitiness. It ain't a boring Pinot Grigio, either, with those lovely fruit characters on the nose partnering with a fresh, saline palate. Great value, and one of our favourite drinks.

Current vintage is 2017. Vegan friendly.


Pinot Gris

I really like Pinot Gris. I love Alsace Pinot Gris, and quite a few German ones too, there rather unromantically called Grauburgunder, or 'The Grey Burgundian' (when dry, or Ruländer when sweet). The best of these, whether dry or sweet, are for me amongst the most hedonistic wines in the world.

I feel that Pinot Gris hasn't really been pushed (by most) in Australia when it comes to style and quality. Yet grown in the right place, by a careful farmer, and vinified by the right person, it can make wines that have a lot of personality, and ones that can with ease handle diverse flavours at the dinner table. Things are changing fast though, and I expect to see a lot of fun stuff, especially so from NSW.

Where the good things grow

Hilltops is a NSW wine region two hours northwest of Canberra. Historically known for its fruit production, especially prunes and cherries, the region is finally starting to get the recognition that I think it deserves known as a source of quality deli products and meats, as well as great wines.

The region sits on what was a giant 150 km wide granite boulder that shaped the way some of our biggest rivers flow. Quite a few years have seen this chunk weather down, and become the foundation for a mixture of deep soils made of clays and sands. Offering awesome drainage for the vines, it complements the continental climate of the region: cold winters followed by warm and dry summers. Cool nights are a feature throughout the year, and the long autumn season is pretty much made for premium grape growing, and allows for a diverse mix of varieties in the vineyards.

Interested in other Bourke Street wines?

Bourke Street Tumbarumba Pinot Noir