|Giorgio (right) in Cork last year.|
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Monday, May 22, 2017
Pinot Gris, more widely known by its Italian name Pinot Grigio, is one of the most popular grapes around.
Quite often it doesn't have much flavour and is easy to drink and these wines are sometimes described as inoffensive, a kind of damning with faint praise. It's as if someone said your wife or husband is "an inoffensive little person, you'd hardly know he/she was there". Luckily, the two below have lots of character, character that you'll appreciate as you get to know them. You'll soon know you have a real wine in your glass. And nothing offensive about it at all.
* In a 2015 article in the Irish Times, their wine expert John Wilson said Pinot was the Genghis Khan of wine and went on to write about Pinot Grigio (one of its many offspring). Read the full article here.
Colutta Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali (DOC), 2015, 12.5%, €17.50 Wines Direct.
Colutta may well be a small operator but is present in Ireland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Russia, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, South Africa and, of course, United States and Italy. Giorgio Colutta took over the family vineyard in 1998 and The History of Modern Italian Wine credits him with being one of the influencers of the first decade of this century.
He is not organic; his emphasis, he told a group of us in Cork last year, is on being environmentally sustainable, it is easier to be organic in the south, he said. He uses mechanical control instead of herbicides, recycles rainwater and is self-sufficient with regard to energy consumption.
Modern Italian wine says “he used Pinot Grigio as his passe-partout to introduce the indigenous varieties”. These varieties include his amazing Schioppettino, which he showed in Cork.
Colour of the Pinot Grigio is straw yellow and there are fruit and floral elements in the bouquet. It is smooth and rich and full of flavour. Much more intense than your usual PG and no wonder Wines Direct regard it as “the best Pinot Grigio in Ireland”. A long finish adds to the pleasure. Very Highly Recommended.
The website tells us that the wine is left on lees until February to develop a better flavour and bouquet. It is not oaked and best served between 10 to 12 degrees.
Zenato Pinot Grigio della Venezia (IGT) 2015, 12.5%, €18.00 O’Donovan’s Off Licence
Zenato, well known for their reds, are on the fringes of Lake Garda and current wine-maker Alfredo Zenato heads the family’s drive to “produce affordable wines of exceptional quality”. And this is indeed an excellent expression of the grape, with more personality than most and a refreshing finish.
The colour is pale gold with green tints. A pleasant melange of citrus and peach in the aromas continues in the impressive palate, smooth and elegant right through to a persistent and grippy finish. A perfect wine for moules frites in the months ahead on the patio (finger crossed!). Highly Recommended.
Lovely as an aperitif and should go well with most of the lighter Italian and Italian style dishes. We tried it (didn't have that many options at the time) with salmon, risotto and pak choi and it worked very well.
See also (from current Italian series):
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Pighin's "Grave wines are bargains". Good too!
Vino Italiano (2005) sums up Pighin: A large estate with holdings in both the Grave and Collio DOCs. There are some decent wines in the bunch, and the Grave wines are bargains.
They have proved innovative wine-makers and built the first Italian example of an insulated winery. No water wasted here; the terrace roof is irrigated with well water which contributes to cooling down the spaces before returning down to where it came from. See the Modern History Of Italian Wine (2016) for more.
Grave is named, in much the same way as its Bordeaux namesake, after its gravelly soil. The Pighin family were in haulage when they took 30 hectares of Risano in 1964 and their drive for quality started then and continues.
Their piece of Grave is considered superior for its wines, leading to varietal intensity and aromatic complexity. Pinot Grigio is king here and this below is a right royal example below.
Pighin Pinot Grigio Grave del Friuli (DOC) 2015, 12.5%, €17.75 Karwig Wines
The colour is a straw yellow, micro bubbles noticeable. The complex aromas speak of white fruits, hints of blossom too. On the palate, it is smooth and noticeably supple, superbly balanced and with a persistent finish. Nothing watery or weak about it; just a full bodied example of the grape and Very Highly Recommended.
Pighin Risano blanco Venezia Giulia (IGT) 2013, 12.5%, €14.85 Karwig Wines
The grapes used in this white are Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon, plus autochthonous (i.e. indigenous) varieties of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. They come from the vineyard of Risano where “Hot, breezy summers, rigorous winters and average rainfall create particularly favourable conditions”.
This very light straw coloured wine has attractive, if modest, floral aromas. That gentleness continues and combined with the freshness of the palate makes it an ideal aperitif. Good acidity should see it pair well with the recommended salads and light summery offerings. A very pleasant wine indeed and Recommended and good value, especially if you have a gang coming to visit.
See also (from my current Italian mini-series):In the Heart of Chianti
From the Islands
Sweet Favourite of the Romans. Still Going Strong.
Barolo and Amarone. Two Italians Worth Knowing
Montepulciano and Montepulciano confused?
Pinot Grigio, one of the most popular grapes.