As a wine writer there is what I write and there is what people ask me. When up close and personal I try and be non-judgemental about what people drink and sometimes that is a bit difficult as they look at you trying what they pour and they think it is the cat’s pyjamas. My facial movements and eyes are watched carefully so when I come across some plonk years of training has made me into the masked wine writer. Not nice being judgemental lest feelings be hurt. When writing I understand the passion of the winery owner, vineyard manager and the winemaker and must respect that very carefully. But I must be honest and that hurts sometimes.
When it comes to Pinot Grigio I have a private Pinot Grigio nightmare called Santa Margherita. It is diffuse, weak and watery and at $20.95 in Ontario that is a crime. My inside Italian wine contacts in Italy agree with me saying Santa Margherita is from a factory.
I think Mayhem can, as it has done in the past, help me cure my nightmare by proving there is life beyond Santa Margherita.
So how about the Mayhem 2021 Pinot Gris? On the pour there is a delicate acidic fizz. On the nose some apple, pear, lime with some tangerine. On the palate the acid I thought might be there had dissipated from the initial pour. The wine is bone dry with a short finish but the acidity is not terrorizing the palate. The dryness can hijack the fruit from the palate. The whites from Vinho Verde in Portugal are equally dry but with grilled fish they take on a life of their own. While this Pinot Gris is not my style of white wine for sipping but with food, such as grilled sea bass, sea bream and porgy with a lemon, olive oil and oregano sauce with Swiss Chard this wine will be where it should be and good riddance Santa Margherita. The winery suggests mussels and French Fries and taking this from the Muscadet playbook I agree! This wine is built for white fleshed ocean fish. If you like a crisp white wine this is for you.
The fermentation started in stainless steel then moved to 7% new French barriques, 69% seasoned puncheons and 24% seasoned barriques.
As only 322 cases were produced perhaps check with the winery where you can purchase www.mayhemwines.com
(Mayhem 2021 Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley, BC VQA, Mayhem Wines, Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, $17.39, 750 mL, 13.7%, RKS Wine Rating 86/100).