You know who’s refreshing me? My friends in Italy are going to be decidedly upset with me but it’s the folks up in Oregon, that’s who. They not only dominated this small tasting in four of the top five positions, but the two top wines both hail from the Dundee Hills. That is crushing it.
And the second responsibility of Pinot Grigio? Well that’s the second responsibility of all wine, which is to be delicious, and that’s where things get to be a bit subjective. Some of these wines were in fact filled with delicious fruit, but others reached deeper and got their hooks into me with their minerality and subtle, savory complexity. The bottom line though, is that many of these wines,and certainly the top half dozen do much more than one might expect from a Pinot Grigio or Gris. Perhaps it’s time to begin to re-examine our vinous prejudices and take a more honest look at what’s in the bottle, as opposed to on the label.
Which brings me a final point here. I used to suggest to people that bottles labeled Pinot Grigio were emulating the well known, light and zesty Italian style of producing this wine while bottles with Pinot Gris on the label were following the Alsatian example. I do not believe this to be true any longer. I believe regions such as Oregon have adopted a convenient nomenclature with each winery choosing for themselves the most appropriate stylistic path. Don’t worry what the labels say folks, just buy a couple and you’ll find one that you like. Simple as that and a classic herb roasted and lemon scented chicken to pair with your gris(gio) should make for a fabulous dinner.