10 Nov 2011
I’ve come across a few customers lately who have expressed an interest in hosting their own wine tasting. While I highly recommend heading to your nearest Wine Club for a “supervised” wine tasting (just because it’s so much fun!), I encourage people to try it at home too. My first piece of advice is to start small. Choose one grape variety and taste from just a few different regions (between 3 and 6 wines will be fine), preferably regions that are known for a classic style of that wine. Second, keep it simple by reducing the number of variables – oak treatment, level of dryness, etc.
Pinot Gris makes for an interesting comparison because there are drastically different styles depending on what part of the world it’s grown/made in. And even though it is the same grape, the wines can be labeled as either Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio, which is often an indication of the style. In Italy, you’ll find Pinot Grigio, which is typically crisp, dry, light-bodied and refreshing. In Alsace, you’ll find Pinot Gris, a richer, fruitier, fuller-bodied wine. In the US, Oregon has led the way in the production of Pinot Gris and typically falls somewhere between the Italian and Alsatian style.
Here are three classic representations from Italy, Alsace and Oregon. If you can’t get your hands on these specific wines, just substitute with another wine from that region. If you want to add on one more, try a California Pinot Grigio. But don’t forget to keep the variables to a minimum. In this case, all three wines are stainless steel fermented.
2010 King Estate Pinot Gris Domaine $14.99
This is the largest single producer of Pinot Gris in the US, so by default it is a classic American Pinot Gris. The grapes are organically grown and the wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks.
2009 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris $21.99
Zind-Humbrecht is one of the most highly regarded wine estates in the Alsace region and typically produces between six and twelve different Pinot Gris wines in any given vintage. Winemaker Oliver Humbrecht uses biodynamic farming. This wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in neutral barrels.
2010 Italo Cescon Friuli Grave Pinot Grigio $12.99
Friuli Grave is situated in Italy’s most northeastern region Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Italo Cescon takes a natural approach in the vineyards. The wine is aged on the less for five months in stainless steel tanks.
-Posted by Debbie Passin, San Francisco