Home Winners > Winners 2018 > NEW WORLD: Pinot Gris

Winner Details

New World: Pinot Gris

2018 Gold 2       Silver 5                Bronze 2              Commended 8
2017 Gold 2       Silver 3                Bronze 3              Commended 7

There has been something of a battle at the Sommelier Wine Awards to see which white grape variety will be the next one to really establish itself in the New World after the classics of Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Riesling and Chenin Blanc.

A few years back, we thought it might be Viognier, and both Gewürztraminer and Torrontés have had their occasional moment in the sun. But finally we seem to have a winner. Pinot Gris has been solidly decent for several years now and put in another good performance here, while its competitor categories fell away.

Stylistically, these tended to be halfway between the zip of Italian Grigios and the oily heft of Alsace Pinot Gris, which actually makes them useful both as food wines and by-the-glass options. New Zealand still dominates – in fact, it seems to have a better handle on this grape than on Riesling.


‘The standard is a lot better now. People are starting to understand it much more, it’s about getting the concentration to give you that extra bit of texture and flavour to make it more than a poor man’s Gewürztraminer. There’s more fleshiness, more texture, more balancing acidity.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘Quite a good flight, with more consistent quality at the more expensive end. New World are more modern than Alsace in style – more grassy, green.’ Cosimo Di Totero, Chiltern Firehouse

‘Most of the wines here would be great with fish.’ Debbie Warner, Wild Wine Club

‘Well-made wine if a bit samey sometimes. They were definitely Pinot Gris rather than Pinot Grigio.’ Charlie Young, Vinoteca

‘I’m not a fan of the Alsace style with residual sugar, but these were all pretty dry.’ Yohann Pinol, Wiltons

Award winners

Found 17 wines

New World: Pinot Gris

Ceres, Swansong, Pinot Gris 2017, Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

A wine that raised judges’ eyebrows, even as they handed over the Gold, with Coq d’Argent’s Lazaros Engonopoulos noting ‘complex, candied lemon, peach and peas with a touch of sweet spice and integrated acidity’, and Typing Room’s Alex Pitt speaking of ‘a creamy texture almost like white peach yoghurt with some confit lime’. Vinoteca’s Charlie Young found ‘gooseberry and nettle, sweet and rich but not oaky, like an off-dry Alsace style that would be great with vacherin!’

£15.24 Matthew Clark

Gladstone Vineyard, Jealous Sisters, Pinot Gris 2017, Wairarapa, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

‘Very floral, with white stone fruit aromas,’ began Yohann Pinol of Wiltons as this took Gold, enjoying its ‘good intensity, aromatic and elegant texture, giving a very vibrant wine with good length’. For Alex Pitt of Typing Room it was ‘easy drinking, with inviting floral and stone fruit aromas, leading to spicy and juicy pears on the palate’, while team leader Nigel Lister thought this ‘moreish, mouthwatering, textbook-style’ Pinot Gris was the ideal match for ceviche.

£8.34 Boutinot

Huia, Pinot Gris 2017, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

Debbie Warner of Wild Wine Club liked this wine’s ‘juicy nectarine and peach with zippy lemon rind finish’, while team leader Tom Forrest was thoroughly approving of its ‘lightly oily, ripe Conference pear, fleshy texture, fresh acidity and light ginger on the finish’.

£9.32 Bibendum

Giesen Group, Ara, Single Estate, Pinot Gris 2017, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

Aurel Istrate of The Connaught was taken with the ‘pink/salmon colour, ripe stone fruits, citrus high acidity but overall good balance and green-fruit finish’, with team leader Tom Forrest also finding ‘some fleshy pear flavours, hints of ginger spice and some mineral notes’.

£13.70 Bibendum

Babich, Black Label, Pinot Gris 2017, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

Highlighting ‘jasmine flower notes with stone fruits on the nose’, The Connaught’s Aurel Istrate enjoyed this wine’s ‘nice and complex, citrusy, fresh green fruit palate and clean finish’.

£10.50 Berkmann Wine Cellars

E&J Gallo Winery, MacMurray Estate Vineyards, Pinot Gris 2015, Russian River Valley, California, USA

Silver medal winner

‘Peach and yellow apple with fresh peas and citrus on the nose, fresh acidity and spiciness on a medium-length palate that has a touch of bitterness at the end,’ said Markus Dilger of Dilger Sommelier Selection, with Yohann Pinol of Wiltons finding ‘intensity and a well-balanced, lovely finish with some honey and apricot notes’.

£10.50 E. &J. Gallo Winery

Argento, Esquinas de Argento, Pinot Grigio 2017, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

Silver medal winner

‘Almost dusty on the nose, with lots of character on the palate and, dare I say it – honesty,’ declared Vinoteca’s Charlie Young in an honest appraisal, concluding: ‘There’s a touch of residual sugar on the finish, which works.’

£10.14 Bibendum

Lake Chalice, The Nest, Pinot Gris 2017, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

‘Fresh aromas of sea breeze and florals, very light lemon on the palate,’ began Coq d’Argent’s Lazaros Engonopoulos, with Vinoteca’s Charlie Young noting ‘almond and pear, some spice on the palate, full-bodied but dry and very good quality’.

£11.12 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Kooyong, Beurrot, Pinot Gris 2017, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia

Bronze medal winner

It was the ‘buttery texture, lemony fruit and savoury finish’ that stood out for Wild Wine Club’s Debbie Warner, while team leader Tom Forrest noted ‘clean mineral aromas, fleshy pear and stony mineral on the palate with a juicy pear and ginger spice aftertaste, all balanced and subtle’.

£16.38 Enotria&Coe

Zonte's Footstep, Doctoressa di Lago, Pinot Grigio 2017, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

Tinpot Hut, Pinot Gris 2017, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£10.05 Liberty Wines

Apaltagua, Zapallares, Reserva, Pinot Grigio 2017, San Antonio Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Harvest, Pinot Gris 2017, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

Babich, Rongopai, Pinot Gris 2016, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£8.37 Molson Coors

E&J Gallo Winery, J Vineyards, Pinot Gris 2016, California, USA

Commended medal winner

Innocent Bystander, Pinot Gris 2017, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Commended medal winner

£11.95 Liberty Wines

Errazuriz, Estate Series, Pinot Grigio 2017, Aconcagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner


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