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John Quinn
21 September 2016 | John Quinn

In the cellar with Tash Mooney


When most people think of the ‘Pinot Gs’ I reckon they believe a Gris and a Grigio  are 2 different grape varieties. In fact they are made from the same grape but just handled differently from vineyard to winery to winemaker. In the Northern Hemisphere the Gris style comes from French winemakers and the Grigio from the Italians. Pinot Grigio wines are typically lighter-bodied, crisp, fresh, with vibrant stone fruit and floral aromas and a touch of spice. Pinot Gris wines are more full-bodied, richer, spicier, and more viscous in texture. They also tend to have greater cellaring and ageing potential. Hence when an Australian winemaker prefers the Gris style I’d suggest they’d probably leave the grape on the vine a little later during vintage in order to get those traditional characteristics.

Today we talk to Tash Mooney about her La Bise Pinot Gris;

Q. Hey Tash, your photo on our site shows a pretty relaxed chick kicking back….is that you?
A. ahh yes that’s me but it was a bad day, I usually look a lot more like Gisele Bundchen.

Q. You make wine under your own label but you also produce under contract for others. Is this common in the industry?
A. are you calling me common? I think there are some winemakers doing this, especially people with their own brands. A brand that is starting out is quite cash flow negative which is difficult to manage so pimping yourself out as a consultant is quite a good option.

Q. Tell us about the thinking behind the La Bise label and its relevance?
A. La Bise is French for “the kiss”. I started La Bise as a reaction to several vineyards that I had found that were neglected and in need of renovation. The two in particular that I first found were full of weeds with limited irrigation and really not preforming at their best but the fruit that we picked still looked good. I thought that with some renovation and  love I could get a really harmonious parcel of fruit and hopefully produce a ‘single vineyard” wine, I thought I would produce them under my own label and in so I was giving them “the kiss of life”.

Q. When I asked you to  submit a wine for Iconic Winemakers you had no hesitation in the Pinot Gris. Is there a history there or do you just believe the consumer loves the style?
A. I believe that wine drinking consumers go on a journey over their wine drinking life and this often starts with sweet wines and moves to sauvignon blanc or shiraz and then as confidence and knowledge grows, they move to different varieties and maybe different regions. With my brand I try to offer people wines that form that journey. The Pinot Gris is important as it offers a wine that drinkers that are a bit over Sauvignon Blanc can move onto. The wine is at a good price point and delivers flavours that are refreshing and good for summer.

Q. Gris Vs Grigio. Did you determine it would be a Gris or did the vineyard and terroir dictate this?
A. The Gris part was really market driven in what I believe people are looking for in a style of wine, I think a bit of lusciousness and concentration is a good thing and this is what my Pinot Gris has due to the style as you mentioned above that is French in origin rather than a more Italian austere style.

Q. Am I correct in saying a Gris is a Chardonnay drinker’s wine and a Grigio a Sauv Blanc style consumer?
A. I am not sure about that, I agree with Grigio being a Sauv Blanc style but I think Gris has more of a Segway between Savvy and something more complex as I explained above.

Q. If a French winery gave you the opportunity to do a vintage up there making a Gris would/could you do it?
A. YES, I AM FREE TOMORROW………………. How nice would that be? I am spoilt thou as my partner is French and I can even speak a bit of the language especially when drunk.

Q. Because of the acidity in a Grigio does it make it more of a food wine whilst the Gris a drinking wine?
A. my thoughts differ as Grigio is a perfect aperitif style with the acid and the greenness of fruit , it really gets the digestive juices pumping as all good aperitifs should. Gris is great for drinking so I do agree with that.

Q. At $22 a bottle, for an Iconic Winemaker, it seems great value.
A. I try to produce and offer wines for consumers at a fair price, I want to educate people and allow them to try new styles at under $25, if it is more than that, they may not be as adventurous and then they would be drinking savvy for the rest of their lives and no one wants that.


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