For quite a long time, California has pretty much been a two grape state when it came to white wines. Chardonnay, the most popular wine in the US, and Sauvignon Blanc, the great alternative to Chardonnay, were our go to grapes.
With the emergence of a whole world of alternatives to this powerful duo it was time for California to take stock and put forward their own contenders.
Pinot Grigio from Italy, also known as Pinot Gris as it’s called in France, has been one of the great success stories in white wine over the past decade or two. With the marketing savvy of a dominant player, Pinot Grigio quickly won over many American consumers with its bright, crisp fruit and unoaked style.
What to expect:Pinot Grigio is one of the world's most popular wines. Also known under the French moniker Pinot Gris, and even the German Ruländer, among others, it's a chameleon of a grape producing a range of styles, from the light fruity Italian style that has gained popularity to a more mineral, flinty and rich wine favored by the French, particularly in Alsace, and emulated by many in the new world.
2008 Palmina Pinot Grigio
Very taut and nervous in the mouth with a lean, focused feel and wonderful balance. Beautiful and fresh citrus tinged pear fruit flows over the mid-palate yielding to a lingering mineral tinged finish.
2007 Navarro Pinot Gris
Redolent of pear, grape and smoky mineral scents this smells enticing. With it's rich, fresh slightly tropical citrus fruit tones on the palate and refined feel it easily fulfills the promise of the nose.
As consumers became more adventuresome many moved beyond the light, snappy style that Italy popularized and explored alternatives, like the richer, more aromatic versions from Alsace.
Producers in California are looking to win back some of the Pinot Grigio drinkers and have made Pinot Grigio the fastest growing white grape in the state. Just to put that in perspective only Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio increased their acreage last year.
With a plethora of styles and regions to draw from Pinot Grigio in California remains more of a grab bag than say those of either Italy of France but there are many great version on the market that warrant your attention.