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Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Robin Garr » Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:12 pm

Let's look at all the white and "gray" Pinots this month, seeking to find the pearls in the mire, the wheat amid the chaff, in other words, the wines of real character and flavor interest from around the world that can, indeed, be found in this niche that unfortunately also contains a lot of overcropped, cheaply produced plonk. Possible starting points might include the Collio hills of Eastern Friuli, for instance, and from bordering Slovenia; from Alpine Northern Italy, from Austria and from Alsace; from Oregon, and maybe from New York's Finger Lakes and Ontario's Niagara Peninsula. New Zealand? I seem to remember some good white Pinot varieties from there.

Try 'em, taste 'em, and let us know what you find!
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:14 pm

The 2011 Gray Monk Odyssey Pinot Gris from the Okanagan is in my opinion one of the top 3 PGs from the valley. In fact the last few vintages have been top notch.
Just a slight hint of onion skin in the color, very aromatic nose, quite citrus initially but then some slight tropical fruit flavors. Lively entry, great acidity but again fair amount of grapefruit citrus and some white stonefruit as it airs. Some noted some apple too and thought wine went well with some pot-stickers.

Very nice drinking on the patio after scattering the ashes of a great true friend today. Amongst the other wines I noticed a Pierre Sparr Riesling plus a nice Chardonnay from Inniskillen, Ontario.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Carl Eppig » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:52 pm

2010 Valley of the Moon, Sonoma County, Pinot Blanc ($12.99 U.S. NH Liq Store). Alcohol level 13.5%. Gave floral notes on the nose and some stone fruit upfront. More of the same in the middle along with a crisp minerality. The finish was short and clean. We matched it with broiled pork chops (too wet to grill), baked potato, and sliced tomato.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:57 am

Carl Eppig wrote:2010 Valley of the Moon, Sonoma County, Pinot Blanc ($12.99 U.S. NH Liq Store). Alcohol level 13.5%. Gave floral notes on the nose and some stone fruit upfront. More of the same in the middle along with a crisp minerality. The finish was short and clean. We matched it with broiled pork chops (too wet to grill), baked potato, and sliced tomato.


Carl.......Pinot Blanc does not always get a lot of respect so I am wondering what one should be looking for?
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David M. Bueker

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WTN: 2011 Holger Koch Weissburgunder Scheibenhardt

by David M. Bueker » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:00 am

2011 Holger Koch Weissburgunder Scheibenhardt - Germany, Baden (7/2/2013)
My first Weissburgunder/Pinot Blanc from Baden, and it's quite an eye opener. There's plenty of fresh fruit, and it's in the crunchy, tree-fruit vein. Good brightness, and a little hint of finishing creaminess that weaves in and out of the wine from time to time. I noticed it on some sips but not on others. Intruiging. Very enjoyable with a simple summer dinner. The wine handled the oppresive humidity of the day quite well, providing refreshment as well as drinking interest.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Carl Eppig » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:03 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Carl.......Pinot Blanc does not always get a lot of respect so I am wondering what one should be looking for?


I think the one from David may be easier for you to find than the Valley of the Moon.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by David M. Bueker » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:05 pm

I sorely doubt it. The Holger Koch came in through a small, independent importer.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Oliver McCrum » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:03 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:
Carl Eppig wrote:2010 Valley of the Moon, Sonoma County, Pinot Blanc ($12.99 U.S. NH Liq Store). Alcohol level 13.5%. Gave floral notes on the nose and some stone fruit upfront. More of the same in the middle along with a crisp minerality. The finish was short and clean. We matched it with broiled pork chops (too wet to grill), baked potato, and sliced tomato.


Carl.......Pinot Blanc does not always get a lot of respect so I am wondering what one should be looking for?


Bob,

It often resembles Chardonnay, but more mineral (not talking about Chablis here, obviously). So appley, hints of pit fruit occasionally, wet stones, and good firm acidity. In my experience most Italian PB is more interesting than the same producer's PG, the reverse of the Alsatian hierarchy. The best Italian PB mostly come from the Alto Adige, and the good co-ops make some very good examples that should be widely available. (Terlan's regular bottling is very good, and their 'Vorberg' is excellent.) The best examples can age for 3-5 years.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:42 pm

Thanks Oliver, just what I needed to know. My fave winestore downtown has a very good Alto Adige section so will browse further.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Rahsaan » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:54 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:I sorely doubt it. The Holger Koch came in through a small, independent importer.


Who?

As it happens I recently placed an order for various Holger Koch wines to pick up when I'm in Germany later this month. I didn't think they had a US importer. Nice to hear!
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Shaji M » Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:39 am

2012 Handley Anderson Valley Pinot Gris
Pale yellow, aroma of mandarins, jasmines and peaches. Citrus on entry with stone fruit, tropical fruit and slight orange peel bitterness on the long finish. Really nice wine. alc 14.6%
-Shaji
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Oliver McCrum » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:47 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Thanks Oliver, just what I needed to know. My fave winestore downtown has a very good Alto Adige section so will browse further.


You are most welcome, Bob.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:36 pm

After DeVine owners came back from the Okanagan and raved about some of the new wines tasted, I had to go with this one...a blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Muller Thurgau, Schonburger, Kerner and Viognier.

WTN: 2011 Stonebolt Chorus VQA, Okanagan Valley BC.

SC, 11.8% alc, $24 Cdn. Black Sage region of the Okanagan. Winery unknown to many, 25 yrs operation.

The color is a very pale looking straw. Enticing aromatics with floral perfumed notes along with tropical fruits.
Initial entry thought is off-dry, good acidity and lengthy finish. Think serving not to chilled would help figure out whats happening here flavor-wise.
Lovely fresh crisp acidity, mineral, loads of spice, big finish. I did figure out that blind I might have thought some traminer here?
A wine to definitely think about, went well with pork tenderloin. Everyone missing out on a very good wine!
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WTN: 1998 Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl

by David M. Bueker » Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:21 pm

I know it is fashionable to dis the dreaded ZH, but this is flat out fantastic. Yes it is big, but the richness is balanced by bright acidity. Tons of drippingly ripe fruit and spice just explodes from the glass. It's a hedonistic wine, and I make no apologies for wallowing in its deliciousness.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Gary Kahle » Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:44 pm

Being a fan of crisp un-oaked whites, I drink a fair amount of Pinot Gris (prefer the Alsase style) and Pinot Blanc. Our favorite for the past couple years is Left Foot Charley Pinot Blanc from the Island View Vineyard on Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula. A 1 acre vineyard farmed by Werner Kuehnis which is basically his front yard. Werner is a Swiss born perfectionist and this vineyard is a good example of his passion for wine. Grapes are trucked to Left Foot Charley winery located at the old Insane Asylum (building that was the laundry) where Bryan Ulbrich turns the grapes from the 1100 vines into 349 cases of “liquid gold”. Bryan’s note about the 2012 reads; “A soft pear swimming in reduced apple cider, sprinkled with lavender”.
The 2012 has been released but availability is very limited and mostly sold at the winery tasting room.
Cheers, Gary
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Re: WTN: 1998 Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl

by Rahsaan » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:52 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:I know it is fashionable to dis the dreaded ZH...


Had it already become dreaded in 98?

Also, I know people often find Alsatian Pinot Gris in general to be 'too much' but I too enjoy the full-throttle hedonism of some of those wines. And it's not at all the same over-the-top thing as an oaked-to-death Chardonnay (which I do not like), because it leans much more heavily on the fruit.
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Oregon!

by Rahsaan » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:55 pm

I don't often drink wines from Oregon, but tonight found myself with a glass of 2010 Foris Pinot Blanc. Nothing amazing but a perfectly respectable glass of round fruit with respectable cut and decently-present white fruit flavors. It's main job was to wash down dishes of fried green tomatoes, scallops with mushrooms, and crab cakes, and in each case it did its job.

Now to find some more interesting examples of these pinots!
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Dan Smothergill » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:15 am

Being a fan of crisp un-oaked whites, I drink a fair amount of Pinot Gris (prefer the Alsase style) and Pinot Blanc. Our favorite for the past couple years is Left Foot Charley Pinot Blanc from the Island View Vineyard on Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula. A 1 acre vineyard farmed by Werner Kuehnis which is basically his front yard. Werner is a Swiss born perfectionist and this vineyard is a good example of his passion for wine. Grapes are trucked to Left Foot Charley winery located at the old Insane Asylum (building that was the laundry) where Bryan Ulbrich turns the grapes from the 1100 vines into 349 cases of “liquid gold”. Bryan’s note about the 2012 reads; “A soft pear swimming in reduced apple cider, sprinkled with lavender”.
The 2012 has been released but availability is very limited and mostly sold at the winery tasting room.
Cheers, Gary


I don't need much excuse to take a trip to Left Foot Charley. This is more than enough. Thanks Gary.
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Re: WTN: 1998 Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl

by David M. Bueker » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:29 am

Rahsaan wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:I know it is fashionable to dis the dreaded ZH...


Had it already become dreaded in 98?

Also, I know people often find Alsatian Pinot Gris in general to be 'too much' but I too enjoy the full-throttle hedonism of some of those wines. And it's not at all the same over-the-top thing as an oaked-to-death Chardonnay (which I do not like), because it leans much more heavily on the fruit.


The dread started sometime around 1994.

I confess to a weakness for Z-H Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat. The Rieslings leave me very, very cold.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Jon Leifer » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:46 pm

I too am a big fan of the ZH Clos Windsbuhl PG, one of my alltime favorite whites..also like ZH Gewurtz , am not a fan of ZH reislings.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Gary Kahle » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:45 pm

Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio
A couple years ago while visiting a winery I ask the lady in tasting room why they chose to call their wine Pinot Grigio rather than Pinot Gris. Her quick response was… If it’s done with oak it’s Pinot Gris (the French Style). Done in stainless steel it’s Pinot Grigio (Italian style). Wow, why didn’t I know that? :)
Cheers, Gary
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2007 Trimbach PG Reserve

by Rahsaan » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:09 pm

Tonight I was pleasantly surprised by the 2007 Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve. It was steely mineral and focused but with nice puckery ripe fleshy fruit flavors and it was an excellent match both with the main course of smoked salmon, cucumber salad, and barley and with the dessert of melons. The melon flavors in the wine were a clear match but I was also impressed with how well both the structure and the flavors stood up to the melons.

Bravo!

It was my first time tasting this wine and I bought it off the shelf today at Whole Foods. So I have no idea how it tasted younger or what it would be like older, but it was pretty perfect at this stage for me.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by David M. Bueker » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:41 pm

I think the 2007 is the current release of that wine Rahsaan.
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Re: Wine Focus for July: Pinot Blanc, Gris, Grigio

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:55 pm

Think we are getting a pretty good overview here. I am about to add to the fun as I open a Verus PG from Slovenia. :wink:
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