Remember 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.