Wine of the Month: Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is one of the most popular white wines in America. It’s easy to guess why: it’s a friendly wine with a bold flavor profile that’s not too dry, it’s easy to find in grocery stores and restaurants, and a decent bottle won’t set you back more than fifteen to twenty bucks.

This wine originated in the Burgundy region of central France several hundred years ago before it made its way to the northern regions of Italy. It’s technically a red grape, but its ashen blue skin color looks grey, hence the name Pinot Gris, later Grigio in Italian.

Nowadays, the biggest producers of Pinot Grigio are not only limited to the Alpine foothills of Italy, such as Friuli. You can find world-class bottles of Pinot Grigio from Oregon, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and about fifteen other countries. Let’s take a look at three excellent bottles of Pinot Grigio that we carry at Liquor Barn.

Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio, Friuli Italy, 2014

This straw-colored wine is actually on the more expensive side for Pinot Grigio, at about $25 for a bottle. Its subtle yellow-whitish color yields to light floral aromas and green fruit yet to be picked. The palate is bracingly acidic, with not-quite-ripe peach sweetness playing more of a foil than anything. A light honeyed flavor plays a delicate saccharine note, while the finish comes off with a bitter almond taste and just a hint of minerals. Pair this wine with light cheeses or bitter greens such as arugula. You can find this bottle in our online shop here.

Etude Pinot Gris Carneros, Napa Valley California, 2013

This Napa Valley winery has a reputation for producing above-average Pinot Gris with potential for cellar-aging their bottles a year or two. Their 2013 varietal has an almost Alsacian amber tint to it, with honeysuckle and green apple bouquet. A crisp acidity complements flavors of still-on-the-vine fruit, and the finish leaves a slight bitter taste mingling with grass on the tongue. This wine pairs well with grilled shrimp or other light seafood. You can find this bottle in our online shop here.

Willakenzie Estate Pinot Gris, Williamette Valley Oregon, 2015

Located in the lush green heart of the Pacific Northwest, Willakenzie Estate is the perfect place to produce a beautiful bottle of Pinot Gris. For a normally green wine, there are some fascinating spicy notes that surprise and delight the palate. Delicate starfruit notes are more of an expected bouquet from a northwestern Pinot Gris, but hints of lychee and nutmeg elevate this wine to a higher level than most. Pair Willakenzie Estate Pinot Gris with semi-soft cheese and dried fruits, or enjoy it with roasted fish or poultry. You can find this bottle in our online shop here. 



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