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Wine of the Week for week ending 20th April 2003
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Framingham Marlborough Pinot Gris 2002
Marlborough, New Zealand

Sometimes the aromas and flavours in a wine can be quite elusive. I'm forever sniffing this and that to fill up the aroma memory bank that resides somewhere in that amazing machine underneath the protection of my skull.

These cool autumn nights are just perfect for taking in the scents of nature that emerge as the sun set starts to set in the west. After a hot summer-like day, the windows and deck door are still open wide but the body begs them to be closed as the evening chill wipes out the warmth. The dew starts to fall and I can smell the grass even though it hasn't been recently cut. Then when it gets dark soon after, the scents of the Queen of the Night fill the air. It's the last memory of summer.

The light straw coloured Framingham Marlborough Pinot Gris didn't smell like grass kissed by dew or ladies of the night. The scents were sweet, nutty and creamy and in the mouth the rich, oily texture was enhanced by typical Pinot Gris pip fruit flavours of apple and pear. The fruit is sweet, the pears are gritty, the wine is leesy and there's a lemon twist to the fruity off dry full-bodied finish. It is rather tasty, thirst quenching and altogether rather moreish. But hang on, there's a touch of sweet herbaceousness in there. Herbaceousness in Pinot Gris? Why not. And I think I know what the herb smell is.

Outside in the garden the perennial herbs are starting to flower. I'm making a beeline for the pineapple sage. It in full bloom and the beautiful red trumpets stand out in the torchlight (for it is now dark). The bees are in bed so I'm not worried about being stung as I pluck a sprig in the dark. I put the leaves to my nose. That's the smell, it definitely is. I take a nibble on one of the leaves. The perfect match.

'Shut your eyes', I said to Neil. I have a glass of the Framingham Pinot Gris in one hand, the pineapple sage in the other. "What do you think?" The glass goes under his nose, then the herbs, then the glass, then the herbs. I swap them back and forth. "Hmm, I can find that smell there now that you mention it. I wouldn't have thought of it otherwise, though".

I make him take a bite of the sage leaf too. He nods his head in agreement.

We're eating salmon pasta. Last night I bought a fillet of salmon. Neil baked it in the oven with just a little pepper, some oil to moisten and some sliced lemon on top. The fillet was too big so tonight we're eating the leftovers. I simply flaked the salmon and heated it up in the pan with a tablespoon of cream to moisten it then served it over pasta together with green peas. I like salmon and Pinot Gris - it's a match that always works. But add some freshly picked and finely sliced pineapple sage leaves as a fresh garnish - it was the 'x' factor that made this particular wine and food match just that little bit extra special.

Framingham Pinot Gris 2002 is sealed with a screwcap. It has been crafted by UK winemaker Andrew Hedley into an off dry wine with 7.5 grams of residual sugar and 13.5% alc. It costs about $21 a bottle. I think it's worth pursuing. Find out more from

© Sue Courtney
13 April 2003

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