My latest kosher wine column for The New York Jewish Week is now available on-line at the link below. This month’s column is on Kosher Pinot Gris: http://thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c5 ... Wines.html
Alas, due to too much "hard news," the Jewish Week was not able to fit my column into the print edition this time. So I have included the full column, including all of my tasting notes, below.
Pinot G.--The Great Gray Grape for Summer
By Gamliel Kronemer
On a hot and humid end-of-summer evening sometimes nothing can be more refreshing than a nice, icy-cold glass of white wine. The wine should be light, crisp, fruity, and dry, but with maybe the slightest hint of sweetness. Although there are many different types of wine that will fit that bill, one of our favorites has always been wines made from that little bluish-gray grape that the French call Pinot Gris and that the Italians call Pinot Grigio.
Pinot Gris was born in the hills of Burgundy sometime in the early middle ages, and is a close relative, perhaps even a mutant offshoot, of that most famous of Burgundian grapes, Pinot Noir. Pinot Gris—the words ‘gris’ and ‘grigio’ both mean gray, a reference to the grape’s grayish colored skin—like it’s more famous kin, has the ability to produce remarkably fruity, flavorful wines, but what makes a good Pinot Gris wine stand out is its soft and supple nature. It is this softness that makes a good Pinot Gris just the right sort of wine for summer.
So for this month’s Fruit of the Vine we tasted four Italian Pinot Grigios and one Pinot Gris from New Zeeland. While none of the wines were spectacular, all of them were tasty, good-value wines, and just right for summertime sipping.
One of the best wines in the tasting was Bartenura’s 2007 Pinot Grigio. Light straw in color with just a faint tinge of pink, this dry, light to medium bodied wine has just a hint of sweetness, and a wonderfully supple mouth-feel. Look for flavors and aromas of cantaloupe, strawberries, and mango with floral elements and a hint of minerals. Ready to drink now this wine should continue to drink well until the end of the decade.
The other standout in the tasting was Cantina Gabriele’s 2007 Pinot Grigio. Made from grapes grown in Northeastern Italy’s Veneto region, this just-off-dry, bright-straw-colored wine has a nose of strawberries and unripe bananas, with a faint whiff of Caribbean herbs. Look for flavors and aromas of strawberries and bananas, with a hint of kiwi. The wine is both well-balanced and refreshing, and should be drunk within the next twelve to eighteen months.
Pinot Gris is a very food-friendly wine and generally goes well with fish, poultry, and pasta dishes. Keep in mind that most Pinot Gris based wines are made to be drunk young, so avoid wines that more that two or three years old. Now that the summer is really heating up, think about cooling down with a nice glass of Kosher Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio. You won’t regret itThe Jewish Week Guide to Kosher Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio
Bartenura, Pinot Grigio, Veneto, 2007: Light-straw in color with just a faint tinge of pink, and dry with just a hint of sweetness. Look for flavors and aromas of cantaloupe, strawberries, and mango with floral elements and a hint of minerals. Drink now-2010. Score B
Cantina Gabriele, Pinot Grigio, Veneto, 2007: This just-off-dry, bright-straw-colored wine has a nose of strawberries and unripe bananas, with a faint whiff of Caribbean herbs. Look for flavors and aromas of strawberries and bananas, with a hint of kiwi. Drink now-2010. Score B
Rashi, Pinot Grigio, Veneto, 2005: With a nice bright straw color, this light, dry wine has a faint, slightly floral nose. Look for flavors of banana, cantaloupe, and honeydew, with hints of minerals. Well balanced, with a nearly elegant structure. Drink soon. Score B
Borgo Reale, Pinot Grigio, 2007: Light-straw in color, with aromas of melons, orange blossoms, and bananas, and flavors of bananas and citrus fruits. This wine is both approachable and pleasant. Drink within the next year. Score B America’s Wine Shop
Goose Bay, Pinot Gris, New Zeeland, 2007: Made from grapes grown on New Zeeland’s Eastern Coast, this coppery colored, semi-sweet wine has flavors and aromas of melon and kiwi. Lacking quite enough acid to balance it sweetness. Drink now-2009. Score B-
Wines are scored on an ‘A’-‘F’ scale where ‘A’ is excellent, ‘B’ is good, ‘C’ is flawed, ‘D’ is very flawed, and ‘F’ is undrinkable. Prices listed are the prices at the retailer mentioned.