It’s a bit of a Scorpo family journey that led here – and what a mouthwatering place to end up. Bestia is the delicious new skin-contact Pinot Grigio from this Merricks North estate. Its origins go back to 2012 when Paul Scorpo’s architect daughter, Claire, came back from the Venice Biennale where she’d enjoyed quite a few amber wines. They reminded her of how Paul’s father made wines from white grapes (mostly Malvasia with a little Waltham Cross sourced from a Riverland mate). Scorpo padre e figlia then tasted a bunch of these wines together, and favoured those made from Pinot Gris. Eventually, in the near perfect Mornington Peninsula vintage of 2015, everything came together. The family hand-picked a tonne of lovely, ripe Pinot Gris. It went into an open-top fermenter, 70% destemmed and the balance as whole clusters. It was given a five-day cold soak before a two-week indigenous ferment kicked off. It was pressed after a total 21 days on skins, then aged for 11 months in four-year-old French barriques.
Attractive coppery pink in the glass. The nose has notes of musk, candied orange peel, fresh blood orange, sour cherry, fresh herbs and a slight Campari twist. Bitter-edged on the palate with that blood orange note, with musky pear, peach and strawberry fruit. It has a soft phenolic texture along with zesty tannins that add a pleasant grip. Finishes dry, clean and tangy. Engaging and moreish, with impressive finesse for this style of wine, and with a good volume of fresh fruit to balance the phenolic and savoury skinsy elements. – Ed Merrison, CellarHand
As the name suggests, fully ripe pinot gris/grigio grapes are a dusky purple grey in colour, so if you ferment the juice with the skins (as you would a red variety), you can end up, as here, with a wonderful copper-hued wine. This has an entrancing perfume of hedgerow flowers and berries, with a gorgeous, rich texture on the tongue. Think of it as a full-bodied dry rosé. And try it with lentil soup. Max Allen, Financial Review May 2017