Thursday, February 7, 2013

S.C. Pannell Pronto Bianco 2012 (Adelaide Hills)

I have a fair bit of time for the Adelaide Hills as a region for Italian grape varieties. Reminds me of Canberra in some ways - the spread of the district, the diversity of sites and their particular climates.

This wine is a co-fermented blend of pinot grigio, riesling and sauvignon blanc juices. The marketing is a bet each way. The website talks the Friuli, Trentino-Alto Adige regional talk of blocking varietal expression and going for neutrality of flavour, but interest in acid, texture and refreshment. The label walks the Dan Murphy's shelf talker line, speaking directly about reassuring fruit flavours of pear, lime and passionfruit.

This is a decent drink. Fruit first, texture later. Label over website. But the difference between the two versions of this wine points to where it does not really work for me. The riesling starts the wine out bright and crisp, the sauvignon blanc tries to bring it together, but the core of it is a muddle of passing-off. It tastes good, but like confusion at the same time.

The heart of it is that this is pinot gris, not grigio. There is a generous, creamy hit of ripe, sweet, pear flavour that swamps the mid palate. A 'smooth' texture in the midst of clear and sharp. Strangely, I'm reminded of a bowl of rhubarb and custard.

Could work well with something sweet and sour - perhaps caponata and good bread.

Screwcap, gift, 13% alcohol, $22 from the website here.


  1. I like your spin on the each way marketing bet, but IMO I dont see the white blends of Northern Italy as trying to block varietal expression. Rather, varietal expression must be maintained to encourage complexity and character.

  2. Thanks Matt. I sort of agree - at least some of those wines do express varietal character, but often of a different, less-ripe-primary-fruited, part of the flavour spectrum for those varieties. The particular thing from the site I was referring to came from the tasting notes and said:
    "The components were harvested and pressed separately and the juices were then blended together to get the ideal balance. The
    objective of blending was not to see any of the individual varieties in the blended juice."

    I do have a lot of time for Mr Pannell's approach to valuing blended wines as sometimes better than single-variety offerings.