Wines made from Pinot Grigio grapes have become wildly popular over the last decade. It’s the perfect lunch time quaffer or back patio sipper. Not all Pinot Grigios are created equal, however; the wines made in Italy, where Pinot Grigio is a native grape, seem to capture more of what that grape varietal has to offer. Here are a trio of Italian Pinot Grigios that offer warm weather refreshment.
*Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio 2010 ($8.99): It starts out with light citrus, melon and floral aromatics that also includes a sense of minerality. There’s a slight tropical bent to the fruit forward flavor profile that features flavors of honeydew melon, citrus, ginger and a hint of thyme. It’s the antithesis of Chardonnay: this is subtle by comparison, as well as more nimble and crisp and thus better suited to spring and summer foods. But the addition of 11.5% Chardonnay in the blend paradoxically adds a textural element and a bit of richness, though the wine is lean and light by almost any Pinot Grigio definition.
*Da Vinci Pinot Grigio 2009 ($10.99): The Pinot Grigio shows more apple on the nose along with citrus and tropcial fruit. On the palate, it’s nearly decadent in its elongated richness, showing flavors of apple juice, baked apple pie, lanolin, almond paste and roasted nuts. It’s a bit richer than the Ecco Domani with more of a creamy mouth feel. While crisp, that mouth coating richness prevails along with pleasant lemony acidity on the finish. The addition of 10% Chardonnay (the grapes are picked late to concentrate their flavor) here really seems to make a more definative difference. It’s actually a wine that has some verve, swagger and grip, more so than many Pinot Grigios.
*Maso Canali Pinot Grigio 2009 ($16.99): Plenty of citrus and stone fruit on the nose of this Pinot Grigio, while subtle flavors of peach, nectarine and pear come to the forefront, aided by citrus, tropical fruit and white pepper. For a Pinot Grigio, it shows some texture and weight on the palate but not heaviness, while good trailing acidity keeps it light on its feet. Late harvested Chardonnay comprise 9% of the blend, which is further flavor intensified by drying the grapes on racks for eight weeks. It truly coats the mouth and leaves a lasting impression, a luxuriousness, if you will, that’s also evident on the engaging and upbeat finish.
Pinot Grigios are available at Berbiglia, Cellar Rat, Gomer’s, Lukas Liquor, MDL Wine & Spirits, Rimann Liquors, Riverside Red-X and Royal Liquors.