Whatever you think about Pinot Grigio, there’s probably one out there waiting to surprise you. This ubiquitous staple, whether appearing on a gazillion wine lists, or in virtually every episode of the Real Housewives of New York City, remains a bit misunderstood at best and totally ignored at worst.
Yes there are some pretty innocuous examples floating around and the truth is that there is a heck of a lot of downright crappy Pinot Grigio available in the marketplace, but that is simply a sign of success. Imitators flock to the scene, usually trying to cash in on a fad with their inferior and unknown products that sell for a fraction of the price of the real thing.
Now that’s not to say that there are no great values in Pinot Grigio, because frankly there are. From where, you may ask? Well from pretty much everywhere that has a serious Pinot Grigio production. That list of course includes Italy and France, but Oregon is probably a close third in many ways and we would be doing a great disservice to California if it weren’t included in this list. Why even Australia, Chile and Argentina are prolific producers of this particular Pinot.
Photo courtesy KimMcKelvey via Flickr/CC
I’ve discussed Pinot Grigio before, how it’s not really a white wine grape, being a mutation of Pinot Noir. Say what you will about Santa Margherita but that brand single-handedly created the modern style of Pinot Grigio that we know and love today. In the past Pinot Grigio was a particularly variable product. It produced pink wines of one shade or another and while virtually all that color dropped out during fermentation in some vintages, in others, the wine remained copper colored, or Ramato in Italian.
Along with the color, these Ramato wines retained a touch of tannin and if you’re like me, the flavors benefitted from that astringency, gaining a bit of complexity and depth. So that’s where we are, discussing where we should be in order to produce world-class Pinot Grigio. Now stay tuned while we take a look at some of those regions during Snooth’s Global Tasting Initiative for August: Pinot Grigio.