Italian Pinot Grigio Tasted

7 great whites


Pinot Grigio virtually screams Italy, so it make sense that we begin our Pinot Grigio Grand Tasting Initiative with the Pinot Grigios of Italy. We’ve tasted many of your favorites before, so this time around I’m taking a look at some of the lesser known wines that you might encounter.

As I mentioned earlier, Trentino and the Alto-Adige are the historic homes of Italian Pinot Grigio, though the grape has spread throughout the north and beyond with some ferocity over the years. Most of the wines tasted today are in fact from the Veneto, Trentino’s neighbor to the east. While the two regions share much in common, they do have different soils and climates, so the resulting wines, while remaining in the classic Italian Pinot Grigio mold, do offer another take on the state of Italian Pinot Grigio.

Photo courtesy noatakem via Flickr/CC

2010 Castello Banfi Sant Angelo Toscana Pinot Grigio 12.5% $20

Very fragrant and quite fruity with notes of cream, pineapple and melon over a core of baking apple. Rather rich up front with good acidity though a fairly soft feel. This shows a very fine edge of astringent tannin on the mid-palate and more melon flavors, in addition to green apple notes. Brightening somewhat on the finish, which is nicely citrusy and reasonably long. This is actually very well put-together with just a touch of sweetness on the finish. 89pts

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2010 Puiatti Le Zuccole Pinot Grigio Friuli 12.5% $15

A bit of green herb tops a nose that’s layered with white flowers, bitter apples, hints of white pepper over a base of gravelly dust. Very pure and precise.  In the mouth this is glassy and pure with nicely pure and crisp ripe orchard fruits framed with subtle citrus notes. The finish here is a bit short but that’s the wine’s only negative otherwise this is a thoroughly enjoyable transparent and tense Pinot Grigio. 88pts

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2010 Zenato Pinot Grigio delle Venezia 12.5% $12

Zesty on the nose with an initial rush of lime peel, a hint of mint and a dusting of gravel over slow–to-emerge apricot fruit. Really nicely balanced in the mouth with a soft, supple texture and nice gentle mineral notes adding some detail on the palate. The flavors run to the fruit cocktail end of the spectrum: pear and peach mixed with some orange are not super intense but certainly well-balanced. There’s a hint of dusty tannin here that dries the finish a bit, as well as a faint underlay of pithy bitterness, but that just adds some length and contrast. 88pts

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2010 La Fiera Veneto Pinot Grigio 12% $10

Dusty and dry on the nose with notes of pear skin, chamomile and birch bark with some flinty and floral top notes. Rather well-balanced in the mouth, if small scaled. This has a certain delicacy to it; it’s not fruit- driven, nor is it plush. It’s a bit simple even but is rather straightforward and honest feeling. The acid is just where it should be to allow the wine to refresh the palate. The finish shows a touch of pithy citrus and some dusty mineral note but is not overtly fruit. This actually is very nice with simple orchard fruits that are not sweet and show rare restraint. Simply refreshing and showing a touch of elegance! 87pts

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2010 Attems Venezia Giulia Pinot Grigio 12.5% $19

This smells of green tea at first with a building base of gentle dried peach, chalk and pollen slowing taking over.  Almost sweet on entry this quickly turns tighter and glassy with a fine almost transparent feel. There’s a hint of baby fat here but the underlying focus is evident. Acids are well integrated and the almost biter apple fruit up front gains more mineral and pollen detail on the mid-palate. The finish is a bit short, very bright and clean but with little persistence. 87pts

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2010 Villa del Borgo Pinot Grigio Friuli Venezia Giulia 12.5% $13

Nice pollen top notes over lichen, grass and rock notes on the nose. This is really very well balanced in the mouth, perhaps a touch soft but the wine is small scaled with lovely ripe fruits that are maybe accentuated by a hint of RS adding to the impression of softness.  This is really nicely proportioned as doesn’t over reach but delivers a balanced, fresh, experience with good purity. 87pts

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2009 Bollini Pinot Grigio Trentino 13% $14

Redolent of green apples and pears, this has an underlying earthy, minerally note that adds nice aromatic support. With hints of honeycomb and tons of pressed floral notes this is attractive and complex on the nose, though it does show a bit too much sulfur. Quite soft on entry and small-scaled, this is a lean, sinewy wine with no fat but nicely rendered flavors of apple and unripe peach framed with wildflower notes. There’s a fleeting hint of honeycomb on the back end before the very fine, fairly long mineral and green pear skin finish takes over. This has wonderful balance and exhibits uncommon finesse for Pinot Grigio. 87pts

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2009 Bella Sera Pinot Grigio Veneto 12.5% $7

Rather unabashedly citrusy with floral top notes, though not terribly intense and turning more apple tones with air. This is narrow and bright in the mouth with a bit of softness around the acid. The flavors are very apple peel, red apple, reminds me of Macintosh with their sweet/sour flavors. Rather one dimensional but clean and fresh. The finish shows some apple peel notes with some cleansing acids and a hint of astringency. 85pts

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