What's the best Pinot Grigio?

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J a y H a c k
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What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#1 Post by J a y H a c k » October 16th, 2019, 6:52 am

I am constantly asked by guests at my house to bring up a bottle of Pinot Grigio when I offer to go down to the cellar to get a bottle of wine. I usually respond with "how about a really good Sauvignon Blanc or German Riesling?" I have no PG in my cellar. However, wanting to be a good host, I really should get a bottle or two to make people happy. A bit like my approach to Malbec, which I do not like but which makes up about 0.1% of my cellar so I have something when people ask for it.

I have no idea what constitutes a good Pinot Grigio or, for that matter, whether such a thing exists. I checked in CT and sorted by rating. The highly rated PGs are wines appear to be number-only TNs with no description. Once I get past the ubiquitous Santa Margherita PG, there are very few producers I have even heard of, and I do not know if it is fair to call Barefoot Cellars a producer. Perhaps Manufacturer would be a better term.

Some of the tasting notes are rather funny. This one on a two year old wine:

2017 California Claassen Pinot Grigio "Big Bay Sunset" orangish-style on colombard skins West Coast Grapes California

10/15/2019 - DUCKYFUFU WROTE: flawed, This one is definitely past its prime.

I do not want to miss out on the opportunity to be a good host and I would just as soon serve a $20 PG to someone who wants it than to force them to drink a Marcassin Chardonnay.

Any recommendations other than, "Give up and don't invite them again"?
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#2 Post by Kelly Flynn » October 16th, 2019, 7:19 am

Does pinot gris count? I believe it is the same grape. I had a terrific Zind Humbrecht "St Urbain Rangen de Thann" 2007 recently.

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#3 Post by Jason T » October 16th, 2019, 7:22 am

Jay, I find your desire to be the consummate host quite admirable. Though I do think there's value in potentially turning someone onto something else they might like.

In any event I'm interested in folk's responses here because I KNOW there is good Pinot Grigio to be had out there, I too simply don't know where to look.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#4 Post by m. ristev » October 16th, 2019, 7:30 am

radikon makes a wonderful pinot grigio that drinks like a deeply colored rosé
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#5 Post by Mike DiSalvo » October 16th, 2019, 7:34 am

If you want to stick with Italy, give Jermann a try.

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#6 Post by jon leifer » October 16th, 2019, 7:35 am

Radikon is kinda hard to source and I doubt that Pinot Grigio drinkers wd recognize it as PG..Zenato is pretty easy to find and pretty reliable, ie drinkable
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#7 Post by Todd Tucker » October 16th, 2019, 7:36 am

I think Terlan would be a good choice. Reasonably Inexpensive and likely to be interesting enough for you to drink and enjoy, and not foreign enough to scare any civilians

Also their Pinot blanc among other whites are very good imo

Good luck!

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#8 Post by RichardFlack » October 16th, 2019, 7:38 am

First thing is region, go for Alto Adige.
A producer I like is Nals Margreid. Their Pungll is very good around $35 Can at the KGBO. The value deal is their basic cuvée which clock in at $19 can and is drinkable.
I used to shun Pinot Grigio until someone introduce me to the $19 version a couple of years ago.

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#9 Post by Kris Patten » October 16th, 2019, 7:38 am

King Estate Domaine Pinot Gris is the best domestic version I have tasted.

Go to from Italy was always Jermann, haven't had it in a couple vintages since we stopped selling it. Kettmeier is solid for value. Terlan is awesome but pricey.

I find folks who ask for PG generally aren't asking for a full flavored version like two above and like labels like Santa Margherita.

I dont drink a ton of this grape so most of my reccos are wines we sell well or I have sold.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#10 Post by Jim Stewart » October 16th, 2019, 7:44 am

Jay, I can't remember an Italian "Pinot Grigio" that I thought was more than just OK, including the over-hyped Santa Margherita. Maybe some here will give us some better examples. On the other hand, Alsatian Pinot Gris never fails to satisfy me. I like the dry frutiness and "purity" of Alsatian wines in general. I can also suggest some Oregon versions. Ponzi is pretty good, Eyrie maybe a little more "sophisticated", and Eyrie Original Vines is special. Although it might be difficult to persuade wine drinking guests who ask for Pinot Grigio, that Pinot Gris is the same wine!
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#11 Post by Doug Sher » October 16th, 2019, 7:45 am

It has been quite some time since I have had either of these but I remember liking both Livio Felluga and Vie de Romans versions of pinot grigio. My recollection is that they were very different expressions of the grape.

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#12 Post by Howard Cooper » October 16th, 2019, 7:48 am

Trimbach (esp. their special cuvée) and Albert Mann make wonderful Pinot Gris. Get one of those or a Zind Humbrecht as suggested earlier. Same grape.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#13 Post by Peter Kleban » October 16th, 2019, 7:59 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 7:48 am
Trimbach (esp. their special cuvée) and Albert Mann make wonderful Pinot Gris. Get one of those or a Zind Humbrecht as suggested earlier. Same grape.
Yes it's the same grape, but for PG they pick it unripe. The result is hardly any flavor and even less character. \rant

PS Just occurred to me that Pinot Gris with ice cubes might do the trick [snort.gif] neener
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#14 Post by David Glasser » October 16th, 2019, 8:02 am

I’d go with one of the Alsatian Pinot Gris Howard suggested. Or knuckle under to the Santa Margherita on the assumption that those who request Pinot Grigio will be happy with it. Better yet, lay in some of each and give them a choice and a chance to expand their horizons.

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#15 Post by Mike Reff » October 16th, 2019, 8:02 am

Water

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#16 Post by J a y H a c k » October 16th, 2019, 8:13 am

I have Pinot Gris. I never thought of it as the same, but Doh! Grigio in Italian is Gris in French. I have Z-H and Albert Mann. I even have a Scholium Project Pinot Gris, which will undoubtedly be too weird for everyone.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#17 Post by Joe Chanley » October 16th, 2019, 8:20 am

Terlan and Venica & Venica come to mind

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#18 Post by Howard Cooper » October 16th, 2019, 8:33 am

Peter Kleban wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 7:59 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 7:48 am
Trimbach (esp. their special cuvée) and Albert Mann make wonderful Pinot Gris. Get one of those or a Zind Humbrecht as suggested earlier. Same grape.
Yes it's the same grape, but for PG they pick it unripe. The result is hardly any flavor and even less character. \rant

PS Just occurred to me that Pinot Gris with ice cubes might do the trick [snort.gif] neener
Is PG Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio? [scratch.gif]
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#19 Post by Rob_S » October 16th, 2019, 8:39 am

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio might be the same grape but it's certainly not the same wine. If someone asks for a glass of Pinot Grigio they won't be expecting something in looks, taste of weight as a Gris from Alsace (and I concur that I prefer Gris, not Grigio).

In terms of Pinot Grigio probably the best that I've had that is usually available is Schiopetto from Collio in Fruli.
utherland

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#20 Post by Hank Victor » October 16th, 2019, 8:48 am

Terlan
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#21 Post by MitchTallan » October 16th, 2019, 8:57 am

Popular culture is an amazing thing. A sub-topic of popular culture is how important a name is. Would Beats by Dr. Dre be half as successful with some less appealing name? So when we talk wine, we have to remember all of the wines throughout history that were inexplicably successful not due to intrinsic worth, but name association/appeal.
Blue Nun.
Mateus Rose'.
Wild Duck.
Merlot.
Marilyn Merlot!
And Pinot Gigio. I too can't count how many times I have heard someone at my major client say, "I heard you are into wine, what is your favorite Pinot Grigio"?
The aspect of this I enjoy most is when Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year's arrive and the TV ad campaigns start. You can see and hear the dreadful attempts of the big swill conglomerates to come up with the next great name. "Fluttering Leaves", "Violet Vines", "Evening Secrets", never something more realistic like "Flowing Catheter" or "Vaginal Prolapse".

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#22 Post by YLee » October 16th, 2019, 9:00 am

Kelly Flynn wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 7:19 am
Does pinot gris count? I believe it is the same grape. I had a terrific Zind Humbrecht "St Urbain Rangen de Thann" 2007 recently.
I had a 2016 Zind Humbrecht clos windsbuhl that was very good. Tropical,minerality and good acidity.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#23 Post by John Morris » October 16th, 2019, 9:07 am

m. ristev wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 7:30 am
radikon makes a wonderful pinot grigio that drinks like a deeply colored rosé
[rofl.gif]

If you could get Jay to bite on that suggestion, it would be hilarious!
Kelly Flynn wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 7:19 am
Does pinot gris count? I believe it is the same grape. I had a terrific Zind Humbrecht "St Urbain Rangen de Thann" 2007 recently.
Probably not what his guests were thinking of when they asked for pinot grigio.

And, since Jay was talking about offering a $20 bottle as a gesture of hospitality toward the vinuously ignorant, I doubt he wants to fork out for Radikon ($45) or Zind Humbrecht Rangen de Thann ($80).
Last edited by John Morris on October 16th, 2019, 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#24 Post by Tom DeBiase » October 16th, 2019, 9:08 am

Here is a very good one from a recent tasting

Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio "Porer" 2017: Is there any grape with a worse reputation than Pinot Grigio. Well, you need to try some from the right Italian producers. Nose is fruity, floral, herbal - grassy and notes of ripe pear. flavors of ripe apple and pear, cherry pit, floral, spicy and with good acidity. Also a nice texture to this wine. Sees some skin contact. One of my favorites of the evening.

Venica & Venica and Elena Walch are also very nice.

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#25 Post by John Morris » October 16th, 2019, 9:10 am

Tom DeBiase wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:08 am
Is there any grape with a worse reputation than Pinot Grigio.
Apart from overcropping, wasn't part of the problem that a lot of what historically was labeled as pinot grigio/gris was actually pinot blanc?
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#26 Post by Jim Anderson » October 16th, 2019, 9:41 am

What's the best 3-ring binder? What's the best Applebees? What's the best traffic cone? What's the best canned peas?

These burning questions somehow tower over "What's the best Pinot Gris?"

Whatever one isn't in your glass.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#27 Post by Tom DeBiase » October 16th, 2019, 9:44 am

John Morris wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:10 am
Tom DeBiase wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:08 am
Is there any grape with a worse reputation than Pinot Grigio.
Apart from overcropping, wasn't part of the problem that a lot of what historically was labeled as pinot grigio/gris was actually pinot blanc?
John, no doubt that helped Pinot Grigio earn the "it's bland" reputation.

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#28 Post by Jim Stewart » October 16th, 2019, 9:46 am

Jim Anderson wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:41 am
...
What's the best canned peas?

...
Le Sueur Very Young Small Sweet Peas


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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#29 Post by Jeffrey Neal » October 16th, 2019, 9:54 am

Make your own - take 3/4 bottle of water and add a 1/4 bottle of the worst white you have = instant Pinot Grigio

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#30 Post by C. Mc Cart » October 16th, 2019, 10:30 am

You're trying to be a good host and that's very generous of you, but you should think this through - Make life simple for yourself and give them what they want. Stock a few bottles of the ubiquitous easy to find mass produced Italian brands such as Santa M and be done. Why search for something else, when these guests know what they want and (to be polite) appear to not want something else in the scope of the wine they drink.
What we as geeks find 'better' or more interesting, is often the opposite to those folks that want what they are used to or don't stray from.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#31 Post by Bob Hughes » October 16th, 2019, 10:37 am

The Unterebner bottling by Tramin is a great bottle of white wine - not a good bottle of white wine, a great bottle of white wine.

And as a number of folks have already suggested, if you just cruise the Alto Adige "aisle" of your favorite wine store, there are numerous producers who make decent to good pinot grigio, all of them better than the mass-produced Santa Margherita.

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#32 Post by Kevin Porter » October 16th, 2019, 10:42 am

I've not yet tried it, but this video makes Kettmeir seem quite attractive.

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#33 Post by Gabe Berk » October 16th, 2019, 10:44 am


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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#34 Post by Jim Stewart » October 16th, 2019, 11:00 am

Kevin Porter wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 10:42 am
I've not yet tried it, but this video makes Kettmeir seem quite attractive.

https://daily.sevenfifty.com/jhonel-fae ... challenge/
Thanks for that link Kevin . . . lots of other similar blind tasting videos there that show the schooled discipline and knowledge of the tasters but the humbling reality of tasting blind. Cheers. -Jim
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#35 Post by Roger Ouellette » October 16th, 2019, 11:10 am

Tiefenbrunner (Alto Adige) makes a fairly drinkable inexpensive Grigio.

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#36 Post by Tim Heaton » October 16th, 2019, 11:26 am

this, of course

Image

A bottle of Borgo del Tiglio Collio Studio di Bianco with a few years of age can make lots of folks pretty happy. (even if it's a white blend)
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#37 Post by Steve Eisenhauer » October 16th, 2019, 11:33 am

Alois Lageder and Tiefenbrunner were going to be my suggestions. So I second those.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#38 Post by Chris Seiber » October 16th, 2019, 12:11 pm

I third the recommendation of Schiopetto. A good wine, and not just “good for pinot Grigio”

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#39 Post by GregT » October 16th, 2019, 12:13 pm

Jay - you can spend all kinds of money on those suggestions from Alsace or wherever and you're going to get blank looks from your guests. I'm assuming that your guests want something that actually tastes like something? And even better if it tastes good? Most people asking for Pinot Grigio don't want a dissertation on soil types and the mythology of minerals, etc. So no joke, get them this one from Charles Smith.

I'm not a fan of his labels, which I think are pretty ugly, or his overall schtick - he's a chubby guy with long gray hair that stopped looking cool about forty years ago, but he does manage to make some really decent wine that isn't too expensive and that's widely available. That's an underappreciated skill IMO.

Anyway, we've had several bottles of this Pinot Grigio and now my wife is pouring it at the shows she's doing for the next few weeks and it's pretty popular. It's under $15 pretty much anywhere, and under $10 at places like Total Wine. We paid a fraction of even that for a few cases. As long as you're not a label drinker, you'll like it. Notes of pear and green apple, no oak, just a really pleasant, flavorful wine. Your guests are going to be quite satisfied.

Unlike something like Meiomi, which is loaded with sugar, this is actually made from grapes coming from two vineyards in the Ancient Lakes region of Columbia Valley so you can even talk about terroir if you want to torture your guests!

Disclaimer - you asked for "the best" Pinot Grigio. I'm not qualified to say that this is the best, as I don't like the grape enough to devote any research to finding the best, but this is absolutely quite satisfying and if it matters, it's done relatively well with critics over the years.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#40 Post by Tim Heaton » October 16th, 2019, 12:17 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 12:11 pm
I third the recommendation of Schiopetto. A good wine, and not just “good for pinot Grigio”
excellent recommendation, all sustainably grown, too.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#41 Post by K John Joseph » October 16th, 2019, 1:18 pm

Jim Anderson wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:41 am
What's the best 3-ring binder? What's the best Applebees? What's the best traffic cone? What's the best canned peas?

These burning questions somehow tower over "What's the best Pinot Gris?"

Whatever one isn't in your glass.
I'm 93 points on that, but since it's by a winemaker from Oregon, a region producing some of the "best" pinot gris in the world, I'm 99 points on that. And I laughed out loud in my office.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#42 Post by K John Joseph » October 16th, 2019, 1:22 pm

GregT wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 12:13 pm
Charles Smith.

I'm not a fan of his labels, which I think are pretty ugly, or his overall schtick - he's a chubby guy with long gray hair that stopped looking cool about forty years ago, but he does manage to make some really decent wine that isn't too expensive and that's widely available. That's an underappreciated skill IMO.
He's like Jim Clendenen with worse taste and sunglasses.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#43 Post by Peter Kleban » October 16th, 2019, 1:27 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 8:33 am
Peter Kleban wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 7:59 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 7:48 am
Trimbach (esp. their special cuvée) and Albert Mann make wonderful Pinot Gris. Get one of those or a Zind Humbrecht as suggested earlier. Same grape.
Yes it's the same grape, but for PG they pick it unripe. The result is hardly any flavor and even less character. \rant

PS Just occurred to me that Pinot Gris with ice cubes might do the trick [snort.gif] neener
Is PG Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio? [scratch.gif]
Pinot Grigio
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#44 Post by David_K » October 16th, 2019, 1:29 pm

John Morris wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:07 am
Probably not what his guests were thinking of when they asked for pinot grigio.

And, since Jay was talking about offering a $20 bottle as a gesture of hospitality toward the vinuously ignorant, I doubt he wants to fork out for Radikon ($45) or Zind Humbrecht Rangen de Thann ($80).
Right. In fact, I'd go so far to say that an Alsation Pinot Gris - such as along the lines of a Zind Hunbrecht (even their basic cuvee) - while nominally the same grape, is about as far from what they were expecting as possible. Then you have to launch into a discussion about how it's actually the same grape grown in a different place, and how the French style is different from the Italian style, and before you know it, you're that guy.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#45 Post by AndrewH » October 16th, 2019, 1:30 pm

Steve Eisenhauer wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 11:33 am
Alois Lageder and Tiefenbrunner were going to be my suggestions. So I second those.
Agree, and also Jermann mentioned above.

That said, I suspect Jay's friends are really asking for a simple, not very interesting, light, flavor-limited wine that they happen to be able to name. So there may be no risk in grabbing whatever Pinot Grigio seems passable and cheap and serving that up.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#46 Post by RichardFlack » October 16th, 2019, 1:31 pm

Jeffrey Neal wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:54 am
Make your own - take 3/4 bottle of water and add a 1/4 bottle of the worst white you have = instant Pinot Grigio
This is a recursive definition....

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#47 Post by lleichtman » October 16th, 2019, 1:31 pm

K John Joseph wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 1:18 pm
Jim Anderson wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:41 am
What's the best 3-ring binder? What's the best Applebees? What's the best traffic cone? What's the best canned peas?

These burning questions somehow tower over "What's the best Pinot Gris?"

Whatever one isn't in your glass.
I'm 93 points on that, but since it's by a winemaker from Oregon, a region producing some of the "best" pinot gris in the world, I'm 99 points on that. And I laughed out loud in my office.
Except that it seems to be getting pulled out by many Oregon wineries to make room for Chardonnay.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#48 Post by RichardFlack » October 16th, 2019, 1:32 pm

Steve Eisenhauer wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 11:33 am
Alois Lageder and Tiefenbrunner were going to be my suggestions. So I second those.
+1 on these too (as well as the Pungll).

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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#49 Post by L e o F r o k i c » October 16th, 2019, 1:34 pm

Steve Eisenhauer wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 11:33 am
Alois Lageder and Tiefenbrunner were going to be my suggestions. So I second those.
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Re: What's the best Pinot Grigio?

#50 Post by Rory K. » October 16th, 2019, 1:34 pm

Everything that's come to mind has been said for me, Schiopetto, Elena Walch, Terlan, Jermann. I also enjoy Ermacora. Good Pinot Grigio is a wonderful thing, though rarely a 'serious' thing... shame about its reputation.
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