Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wine Wednesday: Pinot Grigio

My wine-drinking education continues. Did you know that wines get discontinued?

I didn't. I mean, it makes sense that if the 2007 bottling of a particular varietal doesn't sell well, the vineyard might not make a 2008 version, but I'm used to seeing the same wines vintage after vintage on the shelves in the store. So I was rather startled last week when the nice man at the liquor store called us to say that unfortunately, the Gimenez Riili Torrontes will not have a 2008 vintage, and he could not get us enough of the 2007 to fill our order. (Rats! I really liked that wine, and with Torrontes gaining popularity in the US I'm surprised the winery pulled the plug on it.)

A Pinot Grigio was the obvious replacement. Nobilo is atypical for its varietal, much richer than you usually expect from a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and we wanted something crisp and light as a contrasting selection. We have two likely contenders: Hogue Cellars Pinot Grigio from Washington, and Clos du Bois Pinot Grigio from Sonoma.

The Hogue is a well-known bargain buy; it usually costs around $8 a bottle. The Clos du Bois runs more in the $12-14 range, but with a sale we may be able to swing it. The two are also quite different in taste. The Clos du Bois is delicate, with pear and grapefruit flavors, very crisp and light. The Hogue has a bit more punch to it, with lime and pineapple notes, and it's slightly fuller-bodied. The Clos du Bois is my personal favorite, but both are good buys -- and with summer just around the corner, this is a good time to start thinking about which white wines you want to sip on your porch after dinner! (Man, I want a porch.)

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