Scout Wines is a bi-locational virtual winery that began life in Australia, but is currently based in New Zealand. It’s a collaboration between partners in life and wine, Sarah Adamson (above) and Greg Lane, and it all began in 2017 in the Adelaide Hills when Sarah was working at Deviation Road and Greg at Shaw & Smith.
Their favourite variety is Chardonnay, and they got hold of two parcels in the Hills: one was six rows of Bernard clones high up in Piccadilly. Kate Laurie of Deviation Road was taking fruit from here and there was some spare, and they also got some Clone 95 from Lobethal.
They made eight barrels in all, one of which was new, and they did a portion of skin ferment with the Lobethal fruit. This batch went to barrel very stinky and took three months to resolve from eggy to matchstick. The wine saw 50% malolactic fermentation.
The following vintage they did some New Zealand wine (they are both working in Marlborough now). They got some Pinot Gris from Nelson from 2018, and this fruit came from the Wainui plains, near Hope. The fruit was from gravelly soils (an old riverbed) and was organically farmed. These grapes was picked early (20.5 Brix) and one barrel was whole bunch pressed and another had some skin ferment with whole bunches, while the rest was all stainless steel. And they also got some Pinot Noir from Marlborough, which they fermented together with some of the Nelson Pinot Gris.
For 2019, they have some Central Otago and Waipara Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir from Central Otago, Marlborough and Waipara. The wines are being made at Mahi in Marlborough.
It’s exciting to see a new producer like this, taking an innovative approach to winemaking. New Zealand needs more Scouts.
Scout Chardonnay 2017 Adelaide Hills, Australia
Delicate and quite taut with a lovely mineral edge to the pear and citrus fruit. Has a touch of pineapple richness with a subtle matchstick edge. Very refined and pure with hints of ginger and spice. Very fine. 93/100
Scout Pinot Gris 2018 Nelson, New Zealand
Fresh with a slightly minty nose. Very supple and pure with delicate, fine citrus and some canteloup melon flavour. Restrained. Supple, fresh and delicious but also has some spicy bite that adds interest. Lovely, especially considering the vintage. 91/100
Scout Pinot x Pinot 2018 South Island, New Zealand
75% Pinot Noir from the southern clays in Marlborough (clones 777 and 115) fermented with 25% Pinot Gris from Nelson, all whole bunch. Unfined and unfiltered, and has only had 30 ppm sulphites added in its life. The whole bunches were lefty untouched for 3 weeks and were then stomped a bit, and then after 3 days the wine was pressed to old barrels. Very supple, light and drinkable with sappy, fine red cherry fruit. Such a delicate, pure wine with a silky mid-palate and freshness and smashability. 93/100
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