First time labrat reporting for duty!
I was very excited to unbox this offering at work and discover it was a white varietal as I've been laden with reds and its summertime; I should be relaxing with a white! That said, I ask for forgiveness as I just started antibiotics for a sinus infection today, so my super nose is letting me down just a tad. To ensure a level playing field I enlisted the help of my roommate and our de-facto go to Pinot, Santa Margherita, as a yardstick. With that out of the way on to my sampling of the 2009 Handley Pinot Gris:
Color: A nice crystal clear, almost pale lemon color. Surprisingly I'd swear I saw a few bubbles (I'll get to this aspect in a minute). In other news this is a white wine.
Nose: very pleasant if not a tiny bit muted; it was not as forward as the SM, but I felt it developed more and was pretty darn pleasing. Smooth and not overly sweet, the nose was actually almost reminiscent of a viognier. I did get the pineapple described, as well as a bit of kiwi (!), and a touch of fresh cut sweet hay. I felt like I could pick up a bit of minerality but couldn't quite identify it with my broken super nose, and my roommate did not get it at all. Not too much in the way of floral notes, though maybe a dab of honeysuckle.
Mouthfeel: The acidity is not overwhelming, it balances well with the tropical sweetness to my taste. There is an immediate, almost carbonic hit on the tongue when you first sip, and I swear I saw a few bubbles of CO2 in the glass when I agitated it... I actually liked this aspect but my roommate was not a fan of this. This goes from a really nice crisp/light sipper when a bit cold to a light/medium wine with a few minutes to warm up a touch.
Tongue Tingling Taste: Tropical fruit are definitely present; a tart almost key lime flavor washes over your palette as your first cold swish swirls around. The sweetness is a bit more present in the mouth than on the nose, but again to my taste not overwhelming. The wine stood up well paired with my bow-tie pasta with tomato, chicken, and a bit of fresh cut dried cayenne... I was worried the spice might overwhelm a pinot but it stood up just fine... though I wish I had some sea bass to try it with as I feel a white fish would make a better pairing. Compared with the SM I felt like the Handley was slightly bolder but a touch less complex... honestly I'll accept less complexity for a balance of crisp refreshingness. The relatively high alcohol content is not overpowering to my taste, I would have guessed it somewhere around 13.6-13.9%.
I enjoyed this Pinot quite a bit, and have half a bottle left to sample tomorrow. I plan to match it up with some camembert (a customary snack) and a few apple slices, and I may put it up against a bottle of Triacipedis and the Minotaur’s Chalice for a further point of reference. I feel like a bit of oxygen could help balance the wine slightly, but I'll update tomorrow evening when I find out.
My Verdict: As the cheaper of the bottles in this offering, I think this Pinot Gris still stands up admirably. It's worth a shot if you're bored with what your local offers or if you like a sharp honeyed white on a hot summer's day. I'm not a through-and-through white wine guy, so I probably wouldn't buy it by the case, but I'd put it in my rotation. If I hadn't just bought 6 bottles of X Pinot Nior on Tuesday I'd "no-brainer" buy this to try the Pinot Nior given that I liked the Pinot Gris. I'll wait to see what the other labrats say about the Nior though given our incompetent politicians may put a further squeeze on my wallet next week.
My Roommate's Verdict (for what it's worth, after some libation): "Tropical, pineapple, with a hint of nepotism on the nose." =P
Oh, and lassow is right, the bottle is too tall to fit on the shelf in my fridge. That's all for now from the East Coast, I better sleep before work! I'll update tomorrow with any notable developments and I hope this has been an informative first labrat experience. Cheers!