Apogee Pinot Gris 2023


The APOGEE approach to Pinot Gris winemaking is not dissimilar to the methods employed in the early stages of Pinot Noir winemaking for sparkling. Once the grapes are crushed and pressed there is a moment of skin contact to extract perfumes and flavours, which mostly reside in the skin. The juice is then aerated to oxidize and degrade the pink pigments. This not only removes the colour, but it also changes the flavour profile, rendering it rounder and softer. The ferment was allowed to proceed through a partial malo-lactic fermentation to soften acidity and create complexity by dropping the malic acid level from 3.9 to 2.5 g/l

Rich and full with good acidity and mild tannins from limited skin contact. There is a refined roundness which comes from Andrew’s style of winemaking. The fullbodied style is more Alsace gris than Italian grigio.

Apogee Alto Pinot Gris 2020, Tasmania, – Ralph Kyte Powell – March 16th 2021

Australian pinot gris can mean many things. Light, dry, savoury wines are more usually, though not always, known under their Italian name pinot grigio, and have a large following, while richer, fuller and sometimes sweeter wines bear the “gris” name. Along the way quality can vary wildly, truly awful PGs are too common, but the good ones show the variety’s potential down under. Apogee Alto, from Tasmanian winemaking veteran Andrew Pirie, is consistently one of the latter.

The 2020 version is relatively pale and offers very inviting varietal aromas of pear, honey, flowering herbs, patisserie and spice. It’s rich and ripe, but it has more finesse than many other pinot gris wines. The palate is smooth and silky with a lightly-structured, dry finish. (Screwcap)

Score: 92 ★★★★ 

Alcohol: 14%

Ageing: drink over four years

Food: cheese soufflé

More Information

Andrew Pirie is one of Australia’s most respected winemakers and has made significant contributions towards the current success of the Australian wine industry. Australia’s first PhD in Viticulture and founder of Pipers Brook, Dr Pirie launched Tasmania onto the world wine scene with a bang when his inaugural 1994 Ninth Island Chardonnay took out the white wine trophy at the International Wine Challenge in London. His name still appears on the label of the wine dubbed by Matthew Jukes and others, as ‘the greatest sparkling wine made outside of Champagne!’ Vintage Pirie 1996.

Dr Pirie has received national acclaim for his contributions to the Australian wine industry. In 2001 he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to the Tasmanian wine and tourism industries. In recognition of his expertise and flair for innovation he was given the rare honour of being nominated as a finalist in the QANTAS/Australian Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year Award in both 2002 and 2003.

Over the last 4 decades, Andrew Pirie has been the most influential figure in the Tasmanian wine industry, initiating and building some of Tasmania’s largest and most important vineyards and wineries including Pipers Brook Vineyard, Ninth Island which he co-founded with his brother David in 1974 and Pirie sparkling in 1999.

Andrew Pirie continues to be involved in the Tasmanian industry and apart from his hands-on role at Apogee, provides brand support for the Pirie range, consults on industry development, conducts climate research and is writing a book on wine terroir.

“I remain passionate about the cool climate wine potential of Tasmania. It is exciting to have been involved in the Tasmanian industry from the early days of its modern rebirth to its current success.”

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