Note: This is a sponsored post; however, it represents my honest opinion of the wine provided.
What comes to mind when someone mentions Pinot Grigio? Probably something along the lines of:
- A light and crisp white wine
- Usually budget-friendly
- Something to sip on a summer evening
- A wine that won’t offend anyone but probably won’t excite them either.
None of these descriptors is wrong, when you’re talking about the masses of undistinguished Pinot Grigio that crowd the grocery store wine shelves. And, honestly, sometimes a simple, easy wine is just what you need.
But did you know that some Pinot Grigio deserves to be taken seriously? You can linger over a glass or two while pondering the wine’s aromas and flavors. Or even pair it with an impressive meal for company or for a special, stay-at-home dinner with your loved ones.
Yes, darn it! There really is good Pinot Grigio out there! You just need to know where to look.
This wine-producing region, located in Italy’s far northeast corner, is hemmed in by the Alps to the north, the Adriatic Sea to the south, and Slovenia to the east. Lots of Pinot Grigio grows here but, depending on the vineyard location, very different styles of wine can be made.
Vines planted on the southern plains, where the Adriatic exerts a warming, maritime influence on the climate, yield riper grapes resulting in a simple, fruity style of Pinot Grigio, redolent of white peach and tropical fruit. Grapes harvested from the foothills of the Alps will be higher in acidity, making wines that are crisp and bright, exhibiting orchard fruit flavors and citrus. Both zones can make high-quality wine.
Here’s what to look for on the label:
Friuli Grave DOC: this appellation includes most of the vineyards on the southern plain. It’s your go-to spot for those easy-to-drink, fruity wines.
Collio DOC and Colli Orientali DOC: Colli translates to hills and that’s where the grapes for these wines are grown. Pinot Grigio hailing from these appellations will be more concentrated and structured than the ones from Friuli Grave. Look here for a knock-out wine to serve with a home-cooked meal.
Recommended Wine to Try
2017 Terlato Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali DOC (13% abv; SRP $23.99)
Grapes are all estate-grown and come from 20-45 year-old vines planted on the northern hillsides. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks with yeasts specially selected to enhance varietal characteristics. There was no malolactic fermentation, but the wine did spend 6-8 months on its lees, with weekly bâtonnage.
Color: Pale lemon; clear rim.
Nose: Medium+ intensity aromas of white peach, yellow pear, and honeydew melon.
Palate: Medium+ acidity complements ripe apple/pear flavors and a spritz of lemon. The texture is rich and creamy (from the lees) and provides a nice counterpoint to the acidity. On the finish, citrus and pear flavors mingle with a slight hint of biscuit – like the memory of the last bite of a fresh fruit pastry or pie.
Suggested pairings: This dry wine would make a great partner with fresh fish dressed in citrus vinaigrette or perhaps a platter of cheese and assorted salumi. I think it would also be delightful as an apéritif, a wine to sip as you watch the first sunset of spring.