pinot gris - Printable Version

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- n144mann - 03-29-1999 09:59 AM

Hey guys, while I was shopping this weekend, noticed several pinot gris along with the pinot noirs from the northwest on the shelves. Any recommends on these??

- Bucko - 03-29-1999 10:24 AM

Pinot Gris is one of Carole's and my favorite wines - goes great with shellfish, like the wonderful dungeness crab from our area. Two of our favorite Pinot Gris are Willakenzie and Eyrie. Cooper Mountain is fairly good too. There is a lot of watery, overly sweet plonk out there too. What producers have you seen?


- n144mann - 03-29-1999 03:51 PM

Well Bucko, wrote a few of them down. I didn't write the vintages, but I think I have them right. There was a Kings Estate '96. An Adelsheim Vineyard '97, A DuckPond '97, An Elk Cove Willemette Valley, I think that was a 96 too. Also had a Mondovi Pinot Gris and one other from Cal that I can't remember. Also had a '97 Cuvee from Bridgeview in the same section. In your opinion, anything worth pulling the cork??

Thanks for your help Bucko!!

- Bucko - 03-29-1999 04:52 PM

I would not touch any of those except maybe the Adelsheim.......


- n144mann - 03-29-1999 04:59 PM

Now you see what I got to work with :-(

I will have to look and see what labels are offered up in Minneapolis, usually a much wider selection!

Thanks bucko!!

[This message has been edited by n144mann (edited 03-29-99).]

- Jason - 03-29-1999 08:12 PM

Most American PG's I find to be very flowery or even oaked. Try some good Italian Pinot Grigio (this is not a contradiction) like Banfi San Angelo Vineyard'97 or Mezza Corona Zablagni Vineyard'97. 97 was a great year and it shows in these wines. On the cleaner side what about Alsace? Just had the Trimbach tonight. Good stuff.

- Randy Caparoso - 03-30-1999 02:27 AM

I'm afraid Bucko's right. Oregon makes wonderful Pinot Gris, but you may as well go for the blue chips. The '96 WillaKenzie is a beauty -- truly silky in texture, spicy perfumes, rich, almost plump yet not too big. I can also unhesitatingly suggest the "Reserve" Pinot Gris cuvees by Rex Hill and King -- almost like graceful twin sisters, harmonizing minerally-stone, steel, wildflowers, musk spice and flinty smoke. The "regular" cuvees by the latter two are also nice -- just simpler, without the length and texture.

Oregonians may be shocked, by Californians are actually beginning to turn out some decent Pinot Gris, too. The style is not as delicate or airy fresh as Oregon's, but their strong suit will be intensity and flesh. I agree with Bucko -- avoid the Mondavi. The Chalk Hill "Estate Vineyard Selection," on the other hand, is crazy-good -- a seamless, toasty, yet crisp and viscous, elegantly crafted style -- but pricey ($23-$28). For around $15, Babcock in Santa Ynez Valley also makes a promising one -- properly crisp, lots of minerals and stone fruit aromas to go with floral spice and length.

Regarding Italian Pinot Grigio: I agree with Jason that they're definitely underrated. Their fruit tends to be pure, yet with all the mineral/spice/flower complexities of any Pinot "Gris." But as with Oregon, for me many are called but few are chosen. In my opinion, the richest and most elegant styles on the U.S. market are that of Kris (from Alto Adige, steely and minerally), Pighin (a creamy, lemony, flinty style from Grave del Friuli), and Magnas (also from Friuli, with unusual lime-floral and licorice/tarragon leafiness).

Finally, one of the finest in the world today (and much admired by many cutting-edge winemakers) is the Pinot Gris made by Weinhaus Heger in Germany's Baden region. If you see it, buy it. You'll love its perfect juxtaposition of delicacy, crispness, silken texture, and billowing varietal floweriness with stony, yeasty/flinty nuances.

- Jason - 03-30-1999 05:31 AM

The nuance of a billowing juxtapostion? Randy, I think you've been playing a little too much Scrabble lately. You have a couple of 40 pointers in there.

- n144mann - 03-30-1999 08:00 AM

Thanks Guys!!

- Thomas - 03-30-1999 09:19 AM


For my money I go with Friuli or Alto Adige anyday for Pinot Grigio. And try Tocai Friuliana too.

Believe it or not guys, Fontana Candida has a crisp, lemon-lime 1998 Pinot Grigio on the market (Venezie) at about $7. A superb buy and a refreshing wine with osso buco.

- Thomas - 03-30-1999 09:21 AM

I should say, try Marco Felluga Pinot Grigio, but where you are Nancy that might not be possible.

- Randy Caparoso - 03-31-1999 10:53 PM

Well, guys, if we're going low, for $6-$7 the Falesco Pinot Grigio (from Umbria!) is delightfully fresh, light and easy. Sorry 'bout the rhetoric, Jason. I don't do scrabble, but I may be developing corks for brains.

- Randy Caparoso - 03-31-1999 10:56 PM

Whoops! I meant to say the Stella Pinot Grigio. I get mixed up because Stella wines are made by the same crafty vintner (Riccardo Cotarella) who owns Falesco. See what I mean about spongy brains?