To start, try drinking really good Pinot Grigio.
For Pinot Grigio lovers, we get it. It’s your go to! Reliably friendly in taste, crisp, tangy and gets the job done. But, trust us when we say that it can be so much better than the cheap grocery store mega brand wine juice that you’ve been drinking.
Pinot Grigio can actually sing more than one note – many notes in fact – of flavors and aromas. It can be pretty and floral, smelling of honeysuckle, lemon rinds and lime blossoms. It can have exquisite minerality, and remind of you wet pavement, or chalky earth. It can smell of all these things at once, and the key to this complexity comes in the farming.
How do you find such a Pinot Grigio? Here’s the number one rule: Avoid the mega brands. Think of the Pinot Grigio brands that are in every grocery store. I’m sure that a few big obvious names come to mind. And now think of what it took to make the millions of cases of that wine. We’re talking industrial level farming, fermenting and wine manipulation, people. We’re talking mass scale chemical processes that keep thousands of liters of yellow liquid tasting the same way year after year, bottle after bottle.
Now contrast that to small boutique wineries. Rather than buy wine on the bulk market and manipulate it in factories, they start by renting blocks or rows of vines (unless they own the vineyard of course). The winemakers will check those vines religiously throughout the year. They will prune if the grapes aren’t getting enough sun. They will cover if hail threatens. They will water (or not) as needed. They will persistently test sugar levels in the grapes. Then they will harvest at the exact moment when sugar and acid levels are in balance, pressing their luck against autumn rains that might ruin the harvest. They will wait for that perfect moment to bring in their haul.
For the best winemakers, once the wine is harvested, their work is largely done. They may add yeast or allow the grapes to ferment using the natural yeasts that already live on the skins. The wine will be expressive of terroir, or the earth and weather of that year. Sure, you can blend all that away by mixing it with juice that you buy on the bulk market, but that’s the point. There is a difference between small and large wine producers and every year the wine will taste different.
Ok, so don’t buy mega brands. What else should you look for in buying good Pinot Grigio? Trust in the Tre Venezie! Bordering the Alps, and often more Germanic than Mediterranean in culture and winemaking, this northern region is comprised of three areas that make Italy’s most renowned whites: Fuili-Venezia Giulia, Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige.
To see what we mean, try one of the Pinot Grigios in our store next to your tried and true grocery store brand. It might just open you up to a whole new world.
And don't forget: Is Pinot Gris the same as Pinot Grigio? Yes!
We wanted to find a Pinot Grigio for the Pinot Grigio lover, and we totally exceeded even our expectations! This artisan wine from the Alto Adige region of Northern Italy has wonderfully bright acidity with lemon, pear and nutmeg on the nose and wet stones and zesty balance on the palate. Its sunny disposition is a sure bet. Buy Now!
Fun fact: Pinot Gris is the same grape as Pinot Grigio and originated in the Burgundy region of France! It is perhaps a mutation of Pinot Noir, as the white wine actually has bluish, “grey” skins. France still makes amazing Pinot Gris, most famously in Alsace, although there is excellent Pinot Gris being made in pockets globally.
Pinot Gris tends to have more mineral notes when grown outside Italy. This delicious version from Oregon's Willamette Valley shows expressive notes of white flowers, citrus and melon with a nice creaminess on the palate. Great with fish and seafood! Buy Now!