30 Second Wine Advisor: Quest for great Pinot G

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In This Issue

 Quest for great Pinot G
Our online Wine Focus feature for June turns to Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, as we seek to find the quality examples that display the grape's kinship with Pinot Noir.
 Ronco dei Pini 2006 Collio Pinot Grigio ($16) You can get Pinot Grigio for less, but you'll be hard pressed to get excellent Pinot Grigio for less than this fine white from Northeastern Italy.
 The California Wine Club Celebrate 18 years, with 18% off at The California Wine Club.
 This week on WineLoversPage.com
Tom Hyland reports on the newly released vintages of Barbaresco and Barolo; Richard Fadeley samples a range of rosé wines, and our WineLovers Discussion Group talks about Sicilian red wines that still show elegance and a sense of place
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Quest for great Pinot G

Just a few short years ago, Pinot Gris and its Italian twin, Pinot Grigio, were relatively minor players on the wine scene.

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)

Ronco dei Pini

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.

Pinot Grigio = "Pee-noe Gree-joe"

The importer's Website has a detailed fact sheet about the 2007 vintage of Ronco dei Pini Pinot Grigio at this link:

Find vendors and check prices for Ronco dei Pini Pinot Grigio on Wine-Searcher.com:

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Here's a simply formatted copy of today's Wine Advisor, designed to be printed out for your scrapbook or file or downloaded to your PDA or other wireless device.

This week on WineLoversPage.com

Italian Wine Guide: Barolo and Barbaresco - The Latest
Tom Hyland recently sampled the latest releases of the great red wines of the Langhe area of the Piemonte region: the 2005s from Barbaresco and the great 2004s from Barolo.

WebWineMan: Resplendent Rosé
Warm weather is lurking around the corner and it is time to clean up your grill, dust off the outdoor furniture, and chill down some appropriate summer wines. At least one of which should be your basic dry rosé.

WineLovers Discussion Group: Sicilian red wines
Quite a few of the wines of Sicily seem to be made in a big, "international" style these days, but some still show elegance and a sense of place. Our WineLovers Discussion Group talks about a few winners:

Last Week's Wine Advisor Index

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:

 Premature oxidation (May 30, 2008)

 Another budget Burgundy (May 28, 2008)

 Baseline 2006 Bourgogne (May 26, 2008)

 Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:

 Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Pork chops Liègoise (May 1, 2008)

 Wine Advisor Foodletter archive: