| Photo: Barefoot Cellars
I confess I'm not a huge Pinot Grigio fan, but only because so many of them are boring and insipid, like the drone who corners you at a party and prevents you from meeting more interesting people. But Pinot Grigio is the wine du jour in the summer, and when you find a good one among the sea of soulless, watery summertime quaffers, it's wise to snap it up.
Pinot Gris is the French name for the same grape, but is generally used to denote fuller-bodied and riper wines -- those with some interesting complexity and a mineral character. Here are six Gris/Grigio brands I'm happy to sip.
Six $25-and-Under Pinot Grigio/Gris recommendations after the jump, plus our Wine Poll of the Week (do you like it hot?).
Brancott Pinot Grigio 2008 ($14) is fragrant with white peaches and nectarines, with a zingy, lemony taste. Like New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, this NZ Pinot Grigio shows its own character.
Fantinel Pinot Grigio 2006 ($25) from northeast Italy is soft, tasting of ripe peaches with a core of good acidity that keeps it food-friendly and refreshing. It's spendy for a summer white, but well made.
From America's mitten, St. Julian Pinot Grigio 2008 ($10) is a light, inexpensive Grigio from Michigan's oldest and largest winery.
Mercer Pinot Gris 2008 ($15) from Washington tastes of ripe peaches and cantaloupe. It's the perfect combination of zingy with a slight sweetness. Like most Pinot Gris, this one is made in a riper, fuller-bodied style.
Another Washington favorite: Hogue Pinot Grigio 2008 ($10) from the Columbia Valley is dry and zippy with nectarine flavors and a hint of honey.
Finally, winning the prize for the best price and taste, Barefoot Pinot Grigio NV ($7), is fresh, fruity, ripe and bright.
Wine Poll of the Week: Some Like It Hot
I've been known to complain about "hot" wines -- those whose alcohol level tops 14 or 15 percent, which can make the wine taste out of balance. Some say global warming is the culprit, and others say it's better techniques in the vineyard that allow grapes to ripen longer. Regardless of why, I have to ask ... do you dig hot wine?
|Alcohol? Bring it on! That's why I drink.||16 (27.1%)|
|I hate high-alcohol wines, period.||12 (20.3%)|
|I don't mind hot reds, but don't burn me on the whites.||22 (37.3%)|
|It all depends. (Dish in the comments!)||9 (15.3%)|