Nichol Pinot Gris 2011 – 89 pts and defining minerality

Minerality in wine is not easy to define.  Some experts argue minerality expresses a sense of place, others struggle with the definition of minerality and whether one can actually taste it or is it simply a lack of fruit flavours.

If we look to examples like Chablis in Burgundy with its chalky limestone, or the reds of Pauillac with its gravel from the Médoc, or the slate you find from the Mosel region in Germany, they all offer a unique flavour that defines a sense a place.  When you have tasted enough wines from around the world, you recognize subtle details that define the essence of a region that speaks to your gut when your tasting blind.  Old world wines tend to show minerality better than new world wines and many believe it has to do with the reserved expression of fruit and the lack of prevalent oak.

The reason i’m babbling about minerality is the wines from Nichol Vineyards tend to show this character of restrained fruit and sense of minerality.  The 2011 Pinot Gris is a great example for those of you not sure about this term.  The fruit is not as ripe and intense as previous vintages and the extended cold soaking they normally do provides a slight increase in tannins that are felt throughout the palate.  This combination, along with the lack of oak, allows for better expression of minerality to be tasted.

I really like this expression and as it settles into the bottle (just recently bottled) we will see even better definition of fruit and rounder texture as the natural acidity drops slightly.  This is a serious wine that isn’t afraid to show its little imperfections and that makes it honest and that earns my respect.

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