Pinot Gris; ‘What?’

Breggo Pinot GrisRemember those kids in high school who always seemed to be a little off in the rhythm of the conversation; the ones that when they made a comment it was usually out of sync and the response, if there was one at all was usually, ‘What?’ They weren’t the last-picked kids, but they never quite fit in or made an impression. That’s how I view Pinot Gris.

Mark Oldman in his book, Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine, describes Pinot Gris as, ‘…a glass of ice-water with a wedge of lemon.’ My fellow bloggers have likewise referred to the spectacular non-descriptiveness of PG. Truth be told, I’m right there with them and have often wondered at the other more casual wine drinkers’ love of this brand or that, only to have my tasting of their recommendation met with an overwhelming shrug of my shoulders and memories of going to a beach cottage in a small town, turning on the tap and tasting a peculiar minerality that makes the water too unpleasant to drink. Unfortunately, there’s no bottled water and the 7-11 is already closed. Under those circumstances I’ll open the Pinot Gris.

But the more I hear disparaging comments from my fellow bloggers whose opinions I hold in the highest regard, the more challenged I feel to find a truly enjoyable PG. And found one I have!

2011 Breggo Pinot Gris comes from the cool AVA of Anderson Valley. The color is golden, the aromas are lemon, and there’s that minerality. But the flavors are honeyed. Light-bodied and crisp, but with a lushness to it, the lemon and honey blend nicely and hold up well in this simple yet quite pleasant wine. I served it last night with a corn-fried tilapia and spicy pineapple salsa. The acidity of the wine stood up well to the spiciness of the jalapeno and cayenne in the dish, while the honeyed flavor of the wine echoed the sweetness of the pineapple. It was perfect.

At $19 it is a bit more than I like to spend on a PG and certainly there are Rieslings that would be just as crisp and honeyed for less money. But I am happy to have found a Pinot Gris that I truly enjoyed.

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12 comments on “Pinot Gris; ‘What?’

  1. rhiannong says:

    I think Pinot Gris is lovely and very refreshing when you can find a nice one, the problem is that there are so many out there that are just meh, it’s a real shame. I have no idea how so many bland Italian PInot Grigio’s have become so popular! So glad you managed to find a good one.

  2. Have you tried any of the Oregon Pinot Gris? Those are my favorite.

    • foxress says:

      Yes and I agree, Oregon does make some very good PG’s. But even there I’ve had some dull ones. I think the grape itself has the potential to be very unimpressive. I won’t give up on it, though. The good ones are worth the perseverance.

  3. Wonderful!!! I am always trying to find tasty PG. I, for example, like the Oregon King Estate Pinot Gris. Also, there are some delightful German Grauburgunder out there that really have depth and interesting flavors…thanks for sharing!

  4. foxress says:

    Thanks for reading. I’ll have to try a German PG. Any you’d recommend?

  5. talkavino says:

    Pinot Gris from Alsace and Oregon are nothing like “iced water with wedge of lemon”. Try King Estate Pinot Gris from Oregon as one example. If you want to find truly unique expression of Pinot Gris, try Domaine Zind-Humbrecht.
    Also, for you find some truly unique Pinot Gris, or rather a Pinot Grigio, coming from Alto-Adige in Italy – try Livio Feluga for the ultimate expression of minerality and beautiful fruit.

  6. Kudos to you for not giving up and finding a Pinot Gris to your liking. KUDOS in general because it is the name of one of my fav’s 🙂 Kudos Pinot Gris from Oregon. Unfortunately it is mostly only available through Total Wine. My notes; nose and flavors of apple, pear, honey, grapefruit, pineapple. Very crisp.
    Thank you.

  7. When the bottle says “Pinot Grigio” I assume it is made in the Italian style–the bland, tasteless wine you describe. When it says “Pinot Gris” though, I assume they are making it in the richer Alsatian style–a style I covet. When it is made right, it is superb!

    • foxress says:

      You’re absolutely right, and I really should not have blurred that line. But there’s something about the grape itself that has a potential for meh-ness. And that’s all the argument you’ll get from me on that, because, in the end, who am I to ‘dis a Gris?’

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