Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Rahsaan » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:08 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:I think the 2007 is the current release of that wine Rahsaan.


Nice. Good for the Trimbachs. (Or should I say good for us consumers)
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:08 pm

WTN: 2012 Verus Vineyards Pinot Gris, Stajerska Slovenia.

This was quite delicious, thanks to the heads-up from a staff member at my local winestore.

SC, $26 Cdn, served quite well chilled initially, 13% alc, group of 3 up and coming young winemakers. Has to be said that Slovenia has been getting some great press of late.

Tinge of light onion-skin color, otherwise quite light straw. One would find the nose very appealing with spice, pear and some floral hints too. Quite aromatic, wonder if an Alsacian PG would be like this?
Explosive entry on the palate. Zippy acidity, dryish, fresh, crisp, melon, excellent. No spritz, pear, apple and very good balance here. "Quite rich, peach, pineapple" from across the table. Day 2 the acidity still kicks in here plus some mineral elements. Great bottle of wine here, look out for this one.

*** I cannot think of any PG that would come close to this, maybe one from Alsace?
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Oliver McCrum » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:05 pm

Gary Kahle wrote:Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio
A couple years ago while visiting a winery I ask the lady in tasting room why they chose to call their wine Pinot Grigio rather than Pinot Gris. Her quick response was… If it’s done with oak it’s Pinot Gris (the French Style). Done in stainless steel it’s Pinot Grigio (Italian style). Wow, why didn’t I know that? :)
Cheers, Gary


Come on, Gary, it's like the difference between Sauvignon Blanc and Fumé Blanc.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Gary Kahle » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:28 pm

Oliver McCrum wrote:
Gary Kahle wrote:Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio
A couple years ago while visiting a winery I ask the lady in tasting room why they chose to call their wine Pinot Grigio rather than Pinot Gris. Her quick response was… If it’s done with oak it’s Pinot Gris (the French Style). Done in stainless steel it’s Pinot Grigio (Italian style). Wow, why didn’t I know that? :)
Cheers, Gary


Come on, Gary, it's like the difference between Sauvignon Blanc and Fumé Blanc.


Oliver, I don't understand your comment. Are you suggesting that Sauvignon Blanc is done in stainless and Fume Blanc in wood??
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Jon Leifer » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:41 pm

Am not Oliver but what I suspect what Mr M is saying is that the difference between Sauv Blanc and fume Blanc is marketing, not stainless steel vs oak just my 2 cents
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Oliver McCrum » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:55 pm

Exactly.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Gary Kahle » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:17 pm

Jon Leifer wrote:Am not Oliver but what I suspect what Mr M is saying is that the difference between Sauv Blanc and fume Blanc is marketing, not stainless steel vs oak just my 2 cents


Jon and Oliver,
I don’t totally agree with your analogy of Sauvignon Blanc and Fume Blanc. Mondavi created the name ‘Fume Blanc’ to overcome the negative image of Sauv Blanc in USA. Yes, that is for marketing. Another example of that is ‘Blue Franc’ in place of Lemberger. The biggest difference there is that ‘Blue Franc’ has been trademarked where Fume Blanc has not. Now, back to Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio. I can see an American producer using one or the other in order to say our wine is made in the STYLE of French or in the STYLE of Italy but to say that “with Oak is Pinot Gris and NO Oak is Italian” simple is not the case and I found it interesting that a winery would be spreading this word.
It's not a big deal, I just found it funny,
Cheers, Gary
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Rahsaan » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:57 pm

Well it seems to be partially style and partially climate (Alsace seems to put out a lot riper wines than the northern Italian regions with pinot grigio). In that sense it's much like Americans choosing to label wines Syrah or Shiraz.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Howie Hart » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:02 pm

Rahsaan wrote:Well it seems to be partially style and partially climate....
... and language.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:48 am

2011Mission Hill Pinot Gris Reserve (Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley VQA).

Always top notch for me. Pale yellow color and aromas of apricot and pear. It has a good balance, flavours of apricot and peach with a medium body. Smooth texture with a lingering finish. One should look out for their Odyssey label, that PG is brilliant.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Howie Hart » Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:49 pm

Pinot Gris – My Experience and Impressions

As a home wine maker, who takes the hobby seriously, I started making Pinot Gris in 2009. Prior to that, locally grown vinefera grapes were difficult to obtain, with the exception of Pinot Noir, so most of the wine I made was from hybrids (which I still make and enjoy). To obtain vinefera, I had to cross the border to Canada and purchase buckets of fresh-pressed juice or crushed & de-stemmed must. Then, in 2009, long-time friend Don DeMaison's recently planted vinefera vineyards had matured to where he would have a crop and allowed me to purchase some of his grapes. Other local vinefera crops were not available, as the wineries were using all the grapes themselves. The Riesling Don grows is very good and it's my first choice for white vinefera. My second choice would have been Chardonnay, but Don didn't plant any and none of the other wine growers would share any with me, but Don also grows Pinot Gris, so I gave it a try. I had not tasted a lot of Pinot Gris previous to this, with the exception of Italian Pinot Grigio in social settings.
Pinot Gris is it's own grape, with it's own characteristics – unlike Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin. Don harvests the grapes at the same time he picks Pinot Noir and it is difficult to tell the two varieties apart in the picking boxes. The sugar levels of the two are similar and the acid levels in the PG are usually slightly higher. I run the grapes through my crusher-destemmer, add SO2 and pectic enzyme (to aid pressing). 6-8 hours later I press out the juice, place it in 3/4 full glass carboys and add the yeast. At this point the juice has a slight pink cast, which by the time fermentation has completed is gone, leaving the wine with a somewhat golden hue. I believe many producers use whole cluster pressing for a lighter colored wine. Italian Pinot Grigios seem to be very pale. I haven't had a lot of Alsatian PG, so I'm not sure what is a typical color. The yeast choice is also important. The first year I made it (2009), at the recommendation of folks on a home wine making website, I used D-47 on both the PG and Riesling. 3-6 months after bottling, both batches developed reductive aromas. I blame the yeast choice for this. However, a few weeks ago, I found a bottle of the 2009 PG in my cellar and when I opened it, was pleasantly surprised. Light gold color, the reductive aromas have subsided considerably to something more complex, good acid balance and a medium-long finish. As an aside, the 2009 Riesling was judged at the NY State Fair about 6 weeks after bottling (June 2010) and received a bronze. By August 2010 it was undrinkable. However, I still have about a case of this and plan to re-visit it soon. Since 2009 I have used EC-1118 yeast in both the Riesling and PG and have had no reduction problems, with the exception of the 2012 Riesling, in which I used Montrachet, resulting in perhaps the best Riesling I've ever made (but time will tell).
NOTE: I started writing this 2 days ago and it is a work in progress, so I will be adding to this with WTNs in a few days.
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Schlumberger PG

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:19 pm

Tonight's 2011 Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris Les Princes Abbes was nowhere near as interesting as my Trimbach PG Reserve from the other night, but then again I wasn't expecting as much. This is a nice straightforward textbook example of broad thickish Alsatian PG, yet it is not at all syrupy and still retains plenty of definition and cut. Just without the extra dimension of elegance from the Trimbach. This is a fine pleasing wine for large groups, but it didn't hold my interest for too long and I opened another bottle mid-meal. Such is life!
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Oliver McCrum » Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:50 pm

Gary Kahle wrote:
Jon Leifer wrote:Am not Oliver but what I suspect what Mr M is saying is that the difference between Sauv Blanc and fume Blanc is marketing, not stainless steel vs oak just my 2 cents


Jon and Oliver,
I don’t totally agree with your analogy of Sauvignon Blanc and Fume Blanc. Mondavi created the name ‘Fume Blanc’ to overcome the negative image of Sauv Blanc in USA. Yes, that is for marketing. Another example of that is ‘Blue Franc’ in place of Lemberger. The biggest difference there is that ‘Blue Franc’ has been trademarked where Fume Blanc has not. Now, back to Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio. I can see an American producer using one or the other in order to say our wine is made in the STYLE of French or in the STYLE of Italy but to say that “with Oak is Pinot Gris and NO Oak is Italian” simple is not the case and I found it interesting that a winery would be spreading this word.
It's not a big deal, I just found it funny,
Cheers, Gary


No big deal, I agree. I meant that in both cases there's are two names being used to refer to the same variety, with no real difference. Mondavi knew what he was doing, but at least in the past there were wineries using Fume Blanc and SBL as if they clearly referred to different accepted wine styles, which wasn't the case; and I would suggest that that's also true with the two names for Pinot Gris. Certainly the oak idea is bogus.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Tim York » Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:21 am

"Ambo Grigio" - Friuli Grave Pinot Grigio 2011 - almawines.com - Alc.12.5% - (c.€7)
This was a random supermarket purchase. It is a wine type which I rarely found more than boringly agreeable and it is obviously produced by a large négociant outfit. So it came as a surprise that the wine was really very enjoyable and well suited to an alfresco meal in the garden during this welcome fine spell.

The nose was refreshing with summer fruit and spice hints. The palate was medium bodied, quite dry (producer's site says 4g/l RS) with fresh fruit showing some less welcome but slight boiled sweet hints, some spice, lively acidity and welcome grip on the finish. Good 15/20+ QPR.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Shaji M » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:14 pm

2012 Navarro Pinot Grigio Anderson Valley
Pale straw color. Lime,grass,lemon rind,floral, Fuji apples on the nose. Clean, good acidity.more lime and lemon on the palate. nice finish. Makes you want to keep sipping it and that is not a bad thing with this wine that clocks at 13.7% alc.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Oliver McCrum » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:35 pm

Interesting notes, Shaji, sounds almost Rieslingish.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Shaji M » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:24 am

Oliver McCrum wrote:Interesting notes, Shaji, sounds almost Rieslingish.


Oliver,
The Anderson Valley produces some really nice Pinot Gris/Grigio. Although my experience with this grape is rather limited, I have very much enjoyed the ones I have had recently. The wine focus this month has been a large impetus for me to try more of them. Nice rieslings come from this valley as well.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:58 pm

Shaji M wrote:The wine focus this month has been a large impetus for me to try more of them.

Shaji, I too have purchased some nice whites for this months Focus. Just had a very good PB from Alto Adige.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Bill Hooper » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:53 pm

I’ll echo Oliver in saying that Pinot Blanc (Weißburgunder) is almost always more interesting than Pinot Gris (Grauburgunder) at the higher quality levels, at least in Germany and Austria. In cheaper bottles the opposite is often true.

Pinot Blanc expresses terroir much better than Gris. Gris ripens (much) earlier and gets fat and alcoholic and one-dimensional very quickly. The bunches are usually more compact, and thus more prone to botrytis. Pinot Blanc, depending on clone (and there are many), ripens about a week or ten days earlier than Riesling (which is almost always the last picking here). It yields better than Riesling (we get 50 -60hl/ha for Pinot Blanc and 30-40hl/ha for Riesling) but when the yields are low, the wines are normally very compact, taut and full of extract. Chewy, not creamy is how I like it –fermenting temps and yeast contribute greatly to the finished wine of course.

The greatest Pinot Blanc (and great they can be) usually come from limestone (Muschelkalk, which is limestone with a lot of sea-shell content is generally considered the classic terroir for Pinot Blanc and Noir in the Pfalz). Dr. Wehrheim makes year in and out the most astounding Weißburgunder that I’ve ever tasted from the Mandelberg vineyard. Many selections -up to five runs- and a long, slow fermentation are what they believe accounts for its excellence. They use cultured yeasts, but I wonder what spontan could do for that wine given the chance –though admittedly, it can’t get much better.
Rebholz, Karl Schaefer, Bergdolt (of course), Müller-Catoir (in some vintages –HGS was one of the first Pfälzers to make world-class Weißburgunder here), Meßmer, Knipser, Kuhn, and others are good company in the genre.

It is also a much better option for Sekt (bubbly) than Pinot Gris. Bergdolt makes Weißburgunder Extra Brut that rivals much BdB Champagne for a fifth of the price.

Lastly, I’ll say that while I love good Pinot Blanc/Weißburgunder from anywhere (Germany, Austria, Oregon, Südtirol, Collio………sometimes Alsace, but not often), the best that I’ve tasted to date are from the Pfalz. Perhaps for the simple reason that it is very highly respected here, it is planted to suitable soils, it is meticulously cared for, and commands a good price –our top Pinot Blanc sells for 28€ (likely one of the most expensive PBs in the world) but sells out very quickly.

Cheers,
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:08 pm

Thanks Bill for some very interesting comments. I will post on my Weissburgunder this weekend..it was terrific.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Dan Smothergill » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:39 am

Another thank you, Bill. A relative who has a weingut in Duttweiler, which I believe is in the Pfalz region, makes a Pinot Blanc that's now available in a couple of shops in New York. I've been meaning to try it and definitely will now.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Bill Hooper » Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:13 am

My pleasure.

Dan,
Yes, Duttweiler is a few km south of Neustadt (and in the direction of the Rhein.) Which winery is it?
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Dan Smothergill » Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:01 am

The name is Geissler. We visited several years ago. Wineries in the area in general turned out a nice product on fairly sparse operations. Don't know what things are like now.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

Postby Oliver McCrum » Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:07 pm

Bill,

Thanks for the detailed notes. I would love to find some of those Pfalz examples, both still and sparkling, I have no idea if they're brought into the US.

Now maybe we should talk about the other neglected Alsatian variety that does so well in Germany, Silvaner...
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