Normal folk most likely associate the higher altitudes with cold, snow, forests and pristine air. For the wine nerd, however, planting a vineyard at 1180 metres above sea level on volcanic soils in sub alpine conditions seems a rather tenable proposition. Will it work, won’t it work? It’s almost too good to resist. The Nullo Mountain vineyard tempts with just such a brief. It was planted in 1996 – some riesling, sauvignon blanc and pinot gris were put down – and its wines have been made by David Lowe of Lowe Wines from the start. The 2013 releases of pinot gris and sauvignon blanc arrived in the mail and the former in particular is a wine of some interest.
The 2013 Lowe Nullo Mountain Pinot Gris is yellow in colour with a deep intensity of expression. It opens to aromatics that remind of pear, lightly floral honey and fresh almonds. The palate is quite weighty, viscous and textural, with flavours reminding of pear, resolving almost to a bread like character. Overall, I found this to be a good quality pinot gris of some interest. The 2013 Lowe Nullo Mountain Sauvignon Blanc is a more challenging wine, and has seen some effort in the winery. In particular, some French oak maturation and lees work. Its aromatics remind of talc, lees and its primary fruit flavours remain in check. The palate is resolutely dry, with bracing acidity and flavours reminding of ripening green melons. More interesting as a style than a hedonist’s delight, it shows the challenge of its terroir. Both wines are $30, the pinot gris has alcohol by volume of 14.8% and the sauvignon blanc 13.7%.