Stopham Estate 2013 Pinot Gris

Stopham Estate 2013 Pinot Gris
Kate Corcoran

Kate Corcoran

We have discovered the joys of sailing the Mediterranean south of Turkey.  We tend to book late, knowing that there will usually be a vacancy during the hottest weeks of summer because there aren’t too many other families who can stand the types of temperatures they get there…last time it was around 43 degrees, and the year before, 45!

The captain knows us now; says he’s never had a family who spends so much time in the water.  Our first swim is usually before 8am, and the last at sunset.  The water is just beautiful, crystal clear and a perfect temperature.  Takes a while for us Aussies to get used to the fact that we are swimming in waters sometimes 20m deep and we don’t have to worry about sharks – a peculiarly liberating feeling.

Delicious meals are prepared 4 times a day for us which makes it my ideal holiday: to be honest I would stay in an underground bunker for the week if it meant I got a break from cooking and thinking about meal planning.  The exquisite scenery of the Turkish coast and sunbaking with a good book are a glorious bonus.

The cruise is so totally relaxing that we often have a glass of perfectly drinkable Turkish rosé late morning, and a few more over lunch, so that we are well and truly ready for nap in the afternoon.

On our last trip however, I thought I would take along a bottle of English wine and treat ourselves to something special.  I chose another Stopham Estate only this time a still; their 2013 Pinot Gris.

We opened it one very hot lunch time and I was really looking forward to a well chilled glass.

It was a lovely pale lemon colour and had a strong floral nose with notes of citrus and apples.  Unsurprisingly, given the floral nose, the strongest flavour on the palate was unmistakably of elderflower then some melon and peach flavours. There was nothing of the oak or toast, which have no place in this young refreshing wine.

Of course with those flavours there is going to be some sweetness to the wine; I would call it a demi-sec.  I believe the wine makers actually interrupted the fermentation so not all the sugars in the grapes have been converted to alcohol.  This means it is a lower alcohol wine (11.5%) perfect for the hot temperatures of summer but also makes it a sweeter wine on the palate.

There was some acidity to the wine but that was perfectly balanced by the sweetness, and gave an impression of a well-crafted, well-made wine. Nevertheless, I found it too sweet for the heat of the middle of the day and worried that I was not doing justice to its delicate balance of elderflower and refreshing acidity so I sent it back to chill for the afternoon and asked for it to be served as our twilight aperitif.

In the cooler dusk the Pinot Gris was served with a traditional Turkish appetizer of sigara boregi, a cigar shaped filo pastry filled with feta cheese, and then the wine came in to its own. Its finish was quite marked as a flavour of elderflower lingered on the palate for a moment or two. We continued with it over dinner of marinated lamb and herbed, garlic vegetables…just heaven.