Featured Wine: 2012 J Vineyards Pinot Gris
For me, the appeal of Pinot Gris is indirectly proportiate to that of Pinot Grigio. Yes, I know they are made from the same grape, but the latter is all too often neutral, insipid and utterly forgettable.
Pinot Gris, on the other hand (especially that coming out of Oregon, and sometimes California), is just teeming with character, with a great balance of body and acidity, and mouth-watering stone fruit, floral and citrus aromas. (In other words, a willing alternative for this avoider of oaky Chard.)
California's J Vineyards produces the #1 best selling CA Pinot Gris in America. It's so hot right now that it's outpaced the entire category, growing by 50% in the last thirteen weeks of 2012 alone. (The trend away from said oaky, buttery, over the top CA Chardonnay is definitely helping their cause, and it always makes me happy when white wine lovers broaden their horizon.)
At around $15, it's a great option for anything from grilled shrimp, to crab legs, to chicken Caesar salad. Sourced from estate vineyards in Clarksburg, Lodi, Monterey and the Russian River Valley, the wine sees no time in oak, and no malolactic fermentation. It's at once crisp and lush, with lemons, limes and minerality on the palate, and aromas of apricots and tropical fruit. In a word, yum.