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Pinot Grigio


Susan in FL
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This really surprised me. Anthony Dias Blue said

Pinot Grigio has now become the best-selling imported wine in the United States, taking 12 percent of the American import wine market. Italian Pinot Grigio has surpassed imports of Merlot and (gasp!) Chardonnay from various sources.
Are you surprised? It is really, really weird, because tonight, before I read this, I bought a Rancho Zabaco Pinot Gris and it might have been the first bottle of Pinot Gris I ever bought. It was a great match with our wasabi-crusted chicken and soba noodles with cucumber and mango.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Pinot Gris serves as my "all-purpose" white wine. It will go "OK" with lots of things, stays in the background. Had very few great Pinot Gris' though. It's kind of like vanilla ice cream.

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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I am sorry but I am going to have to chime in here. Pinot Gris and Pinot grigio, perhaps once the same are about as comparable at this point, as Barrosa Shiraz and Hermitage or St Joseph.

IMO Pinot Gris is undergoing a sad, dark period now. In Alsace they can't decide to leave in or out the sugar, ZH changes have sent everyone reeling, and frankly, much of what I have been tasting from Alsace is akin to weird beer. Frankly American Pinot gris are for the most part is yucky and die within 3 minutes in the glass.

Pinot grigio is another story all together. Americans especially are forced to cut their Pinot grigio egg teeth upon Santa Magherita which all told is simply an affront to the mouth nose ears and other body parts. Get your hands on a small production Pinto Grigio, esp from Friuli or Alto Adige and you might understand the delicacy and fragility of a perfect white peach, or focused lemon, zinging with proper acidity and you will be given cause for salivation. Good, well-made Pinot Grigio has the bravado to cut through something as rich as a lobster bisque, could work with certain gastriques, and is the perfect pairing for a dish of simple white fleshed fish, seared perfectly and not too much, salted and then hit with EVO and a bit of lemon juice.

That is my story and I am sticking to it!

over it

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Jeffy Boy: why are you 'dissing vanilla ice cream?? Its the great standard...if the vanilla ice cream is good...the rest is a cake walk.

Not dissing vanilla ice cream! My analogy with ice cream is that though not everyone likes every flavour, there aren't too many who hate vanilla. It's the consensus flavour.

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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Pinot grigio is another story all together. Americans especially are forced to cut their Pinot grigio egg teeth upon Santa Magherita which all told is simply an affront to the mouth nose ears and other body parts. Get your hands on a small production Pinto Grigio, esp from Friuli or Alto Adige and you might understand the delicacy and fragility of a perfect white peach, or focused lemon, zinging with proper acidity and you will be given  cause for salivation. Good, well-made Pinot Grigio has the bravado to cut through something as rich as a lobster bisque, could work with certain gastriques, and is the perfect pairing for a dish of simple white fleshed fish, seared perfectly and not too much, salted and then hit with EVO and a bit of lemon juice.

That is my story and I am sticking to it!

I gotta say, I once let a wine gut at an upscale shop talk me into a $15 Pinot Grigio and it was fabulous: crisp, nuanced, refreshing and 100% Italian.

However, the other 300 PG's I've tasted have been not only not been crisp, nuanced and refreshing, they have been aggressively nasty, typically marked by a finish that's half-way between madeirized wine and stale beer.

I'd love to buy more of the good Pinot again, but since every subsequent attempt to recapture the magic of that one bottle has been met with utter failure, I'll just stick to sauvigon blanc unless I can get Carema to come with me to the wine shop. I think that, here in the U.S., the just ain't any percentage in buying the stuff.

Edited by Busboy (log)

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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i want someone to list 5 great pinot grigio values. i totally believe everyone when the say that santa margherita is overpriced swill, and so many better values and more interesting wines are out there. unfortunately, i just don't pay enough attention when i'm drinking them to pick out anything notable. although i'm usually drinking santa margherita. :sad:

let's see a list of good buys and great wines!

Edited by tommy (log)
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I'd like to respond to what I think was the original intent/spirit of the first post, and that's that pinot grigio has usurped the number one spot in the import market, accounting for 12% of all U.S. imports. Tony Blue feigns incredulity at this figure being higher than merlot or chardonnay. I'm seriously surprised it's higher than shiraz given the Southcorp and Rosemount infiltration I see everywhere.

But you also have to look at all those Italian restaurant chains - Olive Garden, Macaroni Grill, etc., that offer plenty of pinot grigio. Damn near every Italian restaurant offers it as a white wine, sometimes exclusively. And that shit from Cavit is cheap and inoffensive enough (yet, arguably better than any domestic product at the same price point) that the stuff flies out of wine shops by the case.

Now, shifting gears a bit...

IMO Pinot Gris is undergoing a sad, dark period now. In Alsace they can't decide to leave in or out the sugar, ZH changes have sent everyone reeling, and frankly, much of what I have been tasting from Alsace is akin to weird beer. Frankly American Pinot gris are for the most part is yucky and die within 3 minutes in the glass.

I think you make a good point about pinot gris in Alsace. And the ZH flab is stuff that I find hard to put past my lips. Where I'm finding the best representation is in the grauer burgunder (and rulander) wines from Germany -- pinot grigio from Italy's Collio DOC notwithstandnig.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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This really surprised me. Anthony Dias Blue said
Pinot Grigio has now become the best-selling imported wine in the United States, taking 12 percent of the American import wine market. Italian Pinot Grigio has surpassed imports of Merlot and (gasp!) Chardonnay from various sources.
Are you surprised? It is really, really weird, because tonight, before I read this, I bought a Rancho Zabaco Pinot Gris and it might have been the first bottle of Pinot Gris I ever bought. It was a great match with our wasabi-crusted chicken and soba noodles with cucumber and mango.

Is it a good or a bad thing when a wine goes well with wasabi? :wink:

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Interesting discussion. The original intent of my post was to state my surprise that Pinot Grigio became the best-selling imported wine in the U.S. What I was hoping for but didn't mention -- so I was glad to see it in your replies -- were some thoughts about the differences between Italian Pinot Grigio (which I have never been fond of and that might be because I haven't tasted the best), and "Pinot Gris." I really liked the 2002 Rancho Zabaco Reserve Somona Coast last night. It had much more flavor than I was expecting and was more of a food wine than I consider Pinot Grigio to be. It did, however, fade pretty quickly, so we didn't so much enjoy sipping on what was left after dinner.

Is it a good or a bad thing when a wine goes well with wasabi?
It was a good thing last night. :smile: The amount of wasabi powder in the crust was small, so the taste of wasabi very subtle. The wine with the soba noodles with cucumber and mango was the more appreciable match.

As for my surprise, this helped explain it...

But you also have to look at all those Italian restaurant chains - Olive Garden, Macaroni Grill, etc., that offer plenty of pinot grigio. Damn near every Italian restaurant offers it as a white wine, sometimes exclusively.

Several of you stick your virtual noses up at wines that I like... I'm glad to be learning, and becoming aware of different perspectives. Cheers!

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Several of you stick your virtual noses up at wines that I like... I'm glad to be learning, and becoming aware of different perspectives. Cheers!

Uhhhh, wasn't trying to do that. Merely trying to explain the proliferation of pinot grigio everywhere. And when we do get haughty about things like this, it's because we know that pino grigio (and pinot gris and whatever other names it goes by) can be very, very good and completely different from almost all of what the public is exposed to that goes by the name pinot grigio. That's all. :smile:

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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[i gotta say, I once let a wine gut at an upscale shop talk me into a $15 Pinot Grigio and it was fabulous: crisp, nuanced, refreshing and 100% Italian. 

However, the other 300 PG's I've tasted have been not only not been crisp, nuanced and refreshing, they have been aggressively nasty, typically marked by a finish that's half-way between madeirized wine and stale beer. 

I'd love to buy more of the good Pinot again, but since every subsequent attempt to recapture the magic of that one bottle has been met with utter failure, I'll just stick to sauvigon blanc unless I can get Carema to come with me to the wine shop. 

a} maybe you should keep shopping at the upscale because obviously you got something good

b} I am happy to shop with you as long as we get to shop for boots as well :raz:

c} if you are anywhere near Chicago I am happy to sell good Pinot Grigio to you

d} look for very current vintages and Friulian wine zones on the label

e} as with anything, the cheaper the worse.

d} there is a lot of terrible pinot grigio out there, when it is really bad I just spit it on the floor and ask" why are you doing this to me". It took me a full year and a half before I could find one to put in the shop for 8 dollars and we have sold hundreds of bottles in the few months I have had it.

over it

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Several of you stick your virtual noses up at wines that I like... I'm glad to be learning, and becoming aware of different perspectives. Cheers!

Uhhhh, wasn't trying to do that. Merely trying to explain the proliferation of pinot grigio everywhere. And when we do get haughty about things like this, it's because we know that pino grigio (and pinot gris and whatever other names it goes by) can be very, very good and completely different from almost all of what the public is exposed to that goes by the name pinot grigio. That's all. :smile:

Brad, you did not seem to be doing that. :smile: Actually I appreciated your attempt to bring the subject back to "the original intent/spirit of the first post," as well as your info. And for those who do seem to stick up their noses at certain wines, in this thread or others, I really didn't mean that as a complaint. I know that if I had the opportunities to drink more high-end wines than I do, my taste would be even more discrimating than it is now.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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i took craig's advice and picked up some Bollini and Tiefenbrunner.

my wife and i couldn't detect much of a difference (slight difference in finish) during a side-by-side blind tasting between the Santa Margherita and the Tiefenbrunner. and at about 11 bucks, it's certainly a good value. i see little point in buying SM now.

looking forward to the Bollini, which came in at 9 bucks!

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