This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Monday, Jun. 2, 2008 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20080602.php.
Quest for great Pinot G
But since the early 2000s, Pinot Gris' popularity in the world market, measured in dollar sales, has increased as fast or faster than the fabled Pinot Noir ... and Pinot Gris didn't even have a popular movie to help it.
By 2006, according to industry figures, the Pinot Gs commanded about 5 percent of the U.S. wine market, trailing only Chardonnay, Merlot, "White" Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon in the varietal sweepstakes, while leading Syrah/Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, red Zinfandel and Riesling in the top 10.
Since the Pinot Gs became popular, there's a lot more of it grown and made into wine than ever before. Sadly, it doesn't get a lot of respect, as a disproportionate share of it is industrially made from greedily over-cropped vineyards, falling into the bland and generic "wine by the glass" category, a niche that it shares with the lightly regarded White Zinfandel.
But it's still entirely possible to make very fine Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio the old-fashioned way, nurturing vineyards and making the wine for quality, not quantity. Alsace Pinot Gris is a particularly target-rich zone; so are the Pinot Grigios of the Collio and Colli Orientali regions on the hilly eastern edge of Italy's Fruili Venezia-Giulia. Oregon Pinot Gris can be fine, too, and certainly any major wine-producing region is capable of making good Pinot G.
In this month's Wine Focus forum in our WineLovers Discussion Groups, with the understanding that we may have to kiss a few frogs in search of an enchanted princess, we hope to single out some of the best Pinot G. We're not looking for just any old Pinot G here: Your mission is to seek and find the good stuff, from any place on the planet that grows it, and tell us about it.
To read and participate in Wine Focus, click to:
To get us started, here's a very good one from Collio:
Ronco dei Pini 2006 Collio Pinot Grigio ($16)
Clear, rather rich straw color with a touch of bronze. Complex aromas blend apples, limes and a musky whiff of ripe melon. Mouth-filling and quenching, dry and tart, a distinct minerally note playing counterpoint to fresh, snappy citrus on the palate. Tart lime lingers in a long finish. U.S. importer: John Given Wines Co., Manhasset, N.Y. (June 1, 2008)
FOOD MATCH: Would go well with mild white fish or chicken dishes; it was fine with a simple omelet filled with earthy Gruyère cheese, which worked especially well with the musky notes of the Pinot Grigio.
VALUE: You can get Pinot Grigio for less, but you'll be hard pressed to get excellent Pinot Grigio for less.
WHEN TO DRINK: Ready to drink, but it should be capable of cellaring for a few years.
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The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:
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