Neil Duarte's Vino e Cucina d'Italia

My Favorite Pinot Grigio

Today Pinot Grigio has become one of the most popular white wines served in the USA, challenging the longtime American favorite, Chardonnay. If you have never tried this wine, it is a smooth, dry and slightly fruity white wine, perfect for a Summer aperitif or with seafood. The Pinot Grigio grape has become so popular that it is also grown in the US and elsewhere and in many cases this wine is no longer called Pinot Gris, the name formerly given to Pinot Grigio wines made with grapes grown outside of Italy.

Most of the Italian Pinot Grigio imported into the USA comes from the Veneto region of Northeastern Italy, an area once ruled by the city-state of Venice. Hence the words "della Venezie" are usually found under the larger Pinot Grigio on the label. If you drive almost anywhere in this region, you will see small vineyards everywhere, many growing Pinot Grigio grapes. Labels such as CAVIT and ZONIN offer Pinot Grigio della Venezie.

winery scene.
The Mezzacorona winery. Photo: Prestige Wine Cellars.
While these are good wines, reasonably priced and are pleasant to drink, I have a personal favorite that is not from the Veneto. My favorite Pinot Grigio, and also very reasonably priced at under $10/750ml bottle, is bottled by MEZZACORONA (www.mezzacorona.it), Wine Enthusiast's Cantina dell'anno (Cellar of the Year) in 2009. MEZZACORONA only vinifies grapes from its own production, all grown in the Trentino-Valle dell'Adige area. This area is in the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains in the Northeastern part of Italy.

MEZZACORONA's Pinot Grigio, Vigneti delle Dolomiti, is vinified in stainless steel tanks at 18-20°C, which results in a straw yellow color, dry, slighty fruity and well balanced wine. Its alcohol content is 12% and the recommended serving temperature is 50-54°F, although it is fine if served slightly cooler.

I have drunk a large number of Pinot Grigios, many sold at higher prices, but I can't remember any that were better than the MEZZACORONA offering. Imported in the USA by Prestige Wine Imports (www.prestigewineimports.com), MEZZACORONA's Pinot Grigio is widely available in the US.

May 2010

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