Cooling Off – The Wine Guy

    With the weather finally heading in the right direction, I think it’s time to focus on one varietal we haven’t written much about lately.

    Pinot Grigio has skyrocketed in popularity over the last 10-15 years in this country for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that, among summer whites, its crisp acidity, nice balance and pleasant fruit notes make it flexible with food or enjoyed by itself. In the far north of Italy, the Alto Aldige region is home to some of the best-and oldest-Pinot Grigio wines. Over the last twenty years, though, this wine has found new homes, especially in California.

    Ferrari-Carano Pinot Grigio, 2018, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, ($16.99), grown along the Russian River, in the floor of the valley and then fermented in 100% Stainless Steel, which enhances its crisp flavor and balance. Owner Steve Carano describes it this way:”This wine has delicious aromas and flavors of white peach, pineapple, citrus, kiwi, honey, lychee, orange blossom, Meyer lemon and mango. Full‐bodied and bright at the same time, this Pinot Grigio’s concentrated aromas, flavors and refreshing acidity linger to the finish.” As you might guess, seafood pairs best with this one-oysters, cherrystones, Lobster salad or shrimp come to mind.

    Don’t forget a cheese and fruit platter, either!

    Anthony Terlato is one of the most respected wine producers/ exporters in Italy today and one of the greatest examples of why that’s the case happens to be his Pinot Grigio wine. His Terlato Pinot Grigio, 2017, Friuli, Italy, ($19.99) really brings out all the best you could expect in a higher-end Pinot Grigio. Flavors of peaches, pears and aromas of mountain flowers and citrus linger for a surprisingly long time on the palette with a well-balanced mineral finish that’s crisp, but layered. This one is great for any white meats on the grille, especially Tuscan wings, Cobb salad or mild cheeses.

    The Lageder family has been active in the wine trade for more than 150 years. In 1855, Alois Lageder winery was founded on the edge of Bolzano’s historic center. Over the years, through the untiring efforts of four generations, the Lageder family has succeeded in purchasing several vineyards and wine estates in some of Alto Adige’s best wine-growing areas.

    Their Alois Lageder Dolomiti Pinot Grigio 2017, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy, ($17.99), is a brilliant straw yellow with green shimmer. There are distinctive and expressive aromas of flowers with undertones of spicy notes. It finishes with a rich flavor in the mouth and a slight smokiness at the back for a good, fresh finish. This one is so structured that it pairs well with meat tapas and grilled mushrooms.

    One Pinot Grigio that is everywhere is Kris Pinot Grigio, 2017, Pinot  Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, ($12.99), but for a good reason.  Kris Pinot Grigio IGT Delle Venezie takes full advantage of the “delle Venezie” designation by marrying the best fruit from the appellation’s three permitted regions. Veneto fruit provides the delicate floral notes and the classic almond finish. Grapes sourced from the southwest facing slopes of Montagna receive ample sun and contribute ripe, yet fresh, citrus and pear fruit. Soil from the Mulinat vineyards is gravelly and well drained, which helps to limit yields and intensify flavor. These highly reputed vineyards offer many different microclimates of varying exposures and elevations which contribute to the distinctive component in the final blend. The winemakers focus on quality, low yield production methods and unique mastery of classic Alto-Adige grapes, which have brought them justifiable acclaim.

    So, if you’re looking for crisp and refreshing whites that offer flavor, structure and balance, all at affordable prices, these are the one that’ll cool you off, Italian style!

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