Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Pinot Grisless

This time of year, few things irk me more than wine shops that don't carry pinot gris. How can that be, you might ask? You'd be surprised.

There are, of course, some very fine wine shops that have complained, when confronted, that they don't get a huge number of pinot gris to choose from out here in Connecticut, so they have trouble keeping it on the shelf when the weather warms up. But there are other places that don't seem to stock it much at all and instead try to steer me to the pinot grigio, oceans of pinot grigio. To me, if a wine shop doesn't stock pinot gris, I can't take them seriously.

I know full well that pinot gris and pinot grigio are made from the same grape. Made chiefly in Italy, pinot grigio is simply a lighter, crisper style of pinot gris. But, to me, the difference is night and day. I just don't care for pinot grigio. I know that will probably get me in trouble with some. I've actually had one or two I did like, so I know decent pinot grigio does exist. But the vast majority leave me...cold.

Pinot gris, on the other hand, as produced in Alsace or Oregon, is usually lush by comparison. Closely related to pinot noir, the grapes often have a nice soft red or pink color. In the glass, the wine sports wonderful ripe mellon and pear flavors, often with a hint of orange blossom or honey. It's just so satisying with summer salads, my curried chicken salad or fish. Along with Alsatian riesling, it's my summer fling.

That's why I get upset at wine stores that don't have any pinot gris once the warm weather comes. We're talking a serious need here. Only serious wine stores will do.


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