Pinot Grigio Under $15

A collection of value Pinot Grigios that wont hurt your wallet

2011 Innocent Bystander Pinot Gris Yarra Valley AUS 12.5% $14

Quite ripe on the nose with slightly waxy yellow fruits that quickly turn a bit flat and herbal with air. Soft and broad in the mouth with a nice mineral edge and good clarity, though this is a bit thin on the mid-palate. The acidity really drives this, lending the wine citric and slightly bitter apple peel flavors and a nice mineral wash to the finish. A final wave of sweet fruit does reappear on the finish adding nice detail to the finale. This is not going to be that popular as it is not fruit-driven, but it is somewhat complex and has a nice interplay of sweet, sour and bitter flavors on the palate. 87pts

2010 Pighin Pinot Grigio Friuli 12.5% $14

Pretty aromatic on the nose with a nice blast of greengage plum, framed by saffron and gentle, dried orange peel notes over a dried apricot base. Light and feathery in the mouth, this is sheer and delicate with clear plum and green apple flavors across the palate that quickly yield to a light dried apple- and spice-toned finish. Easy to enjoy with some complexity but ultimately a lightweight wine. 86pts

2011 Lungarotti Pinot Grigio Umbria Italy 12.5% $14

Smells like you’re zesting lime. Fresh, crisp, gently floral with a bit of green spiciness. On entry, this is lean and very direct, small-scaled and acid-driven with slightly pithy lemon flavors. With air, it gains a touch of weight and begins to show some of the green herbal and spice nuances from the nose. A lovely sipper, this gains some nice snap on the finish, which is moderately long and very firm, demanding some food to go along with it. 86pts

2011 McManis Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio California 11.5% $10

Nicely aromatic with notes of apples, pollen, a hint of honey and a squeeze of lime. Bright and lively on entry, this has plenty of acidity on a lean, fairly well balanced frame. It’s not very complex, delivering light apple, citrus and honey flavors, but it is well balanced and refreshing with a decently long finish. I can see this pleasing a very wide audience. 85pts

2011 Forchir Villa del Borgo Pinot Grigio Friuli 12.5% $10

On the nose, this is very lemony with a nice lime leaf top note and a hint of peach. Fairly sweet on entry with bright acidity, but the sugar here remains noticeable, adding a bit of creamy weight and some heft to the lemon curd and apricot fruit flavors. A bit of minerality helps to enliven the finish. This is a party wine. 85pts

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Top Pinot Grigio Under $15

Armani Pinot Grigio Valdadige DOC Vigneto Corvara (2011)
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Willow Vineyard Pinot Gris Leelanau Peninsula (2011)
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Bargetto Regan Vineyard Pinot Grigio (2010)
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Santi Sortesele Pinot Grigio (2011)
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Innocent Bystander Pinot Gris Yarra Valley (2011)
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Pighin Friuli Grave Pinot Grigio (2010)
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Brezza Dell Umbria Bianco Igt. Lungarotti (2011)
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Mcmanis Family Vineyards Mcmanis Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio (2011)
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Forchir Pinot Grigio Friuli Villa del Borgo (2011)
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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: dhcwine
    810660 8

    Sure would be nice if publications like yours could help us begin to trade our customers up not always down...

    Aug 21, 2012 at 3:54 PM

  • Snooth User: Drew458
    1039882 1

    Oh puh-leez dhcwine; most of the time Snooth is pushing $40+ wines and often $80+ wines that very few of us can afford.

    Nor am I all that sure that Snooth is an industry owned shill. Maybe they just want people to appreciate more wine. Ok, that's naive of me, of course they're a shill. So tell me, Mr. Wine Store owner, which would you rather have - the weekly $15 customer or the once a month $45 customer?

    Wine is a gamble, every bottle of every vintage of every variety at every price point. I'd much rather take a $10 risk or a $15 risk for a smaller payout tonight than a $75 risk that I have to carefully cellar for a decade before finding out that I've been suckered. I've been burned too many times ... and there are so many labels out there that almost NOTHING of what Snooth pushes is actually on my local store's shelves. But other wines from that region and vintage may be, so if I feel the drive to try something new and different, Snooth's advice can at least lead me in the (fingers crossed!) right direction.

    It's better than certain wine review "names", where every bottle of goat-lick seems to earn a 90 to 92 rating, when in reality most should have a 69 to 70 ratingor lower. But that doesn't sell wines does it? Calling the plonk the plonk?

    Aug 21, 2012 at 4:41 PM

  • What works for me is reading so I understand the landscape, developing a relationship with two or three wine shops and trust. One shop I've found is batting 1000 on the wines I have purchased. I know this will not last but his care in wine buying is making me a very satisfied customer. Anyway, hits and misses is part of the fun...regardless of price. There are thousands of wines out there.

    Aug 21, 2012 at 11:55 PM

  • I tend to be on dhcwine's side in this particular PINOT GRIGIO discussion, as I find the best examples from North East Italy, Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and Slovenia are tending to come in the £12.50 upwards category here in London. Adjusting for taxes and ex rates thats about 15 plus.
    Yet I agree with Drew458 about not needing more $80 92pt wines to store until - one day - we are too dead to drink them!
    There is huge variation in the cheap pinot category. A clue is if the wine is clear, almost watery, that tends to be its taste. we also find all Alto Adiges worth drinking. Present fave is Tiefenbrunner's 2011. In friuli the wines have even more length complexity and exotics going on in the top examples./
    Has anyone found an Australian Pinot Grigio that isnt too tart and acidic yet?

    Aug 22, 2012 at 4:42 AM

  • Pinot Grigio makes it to America in droves. I feel with so much good Pinot Gris coming from Oregon and Washington why bother with much of the watered down Italians anyways.

    Aug 23, 2012 at 3:34 PM

  • I now see Innocent Bystander listed - which will be from Australia. Thanks.

    Dumb question time. Like Bacchustravels I love Pinot Gris - except in my case from the Alsace. Is it the same grape, as makes watery Italian wine for the kind office get-togethers that have me rushing to leave at 4.30, or pizza places where the wine list leaves one nothing to hope for?

    Aug 24, 2012 at 5:19 AM

  • I agree Drew458. I'm always looking to try something new but I skip over Barefoot, Yellowtail, Cupcake, Little Black Dress, Fat Bastard and Big Truck (seriously) wines. Snooth is a great way to try something new and $15 bottles are great ways for newbies to start developing a palate.

    Aug 25, 2012 at 1:41 PM

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