In California vineyards, a rising star is joining two classic dry whites. Chardonnay and sauvignon blanc have long been the most popular wines in America but the new marvel is pinot grigio (sometimes called pinot gris).
In the past decade, California has seen plantings more than quadruple — from around 2,500 acres in 2000 to almost 13,000 in 2010. That’s a lot of producers banking on the popularity of this charming yet undemanding grape.
Over the years, Americans began turning to pinot grigio to satisfy the desire for a white wine that is not as rich and oaky as chardonnay but a little softer and fruitier than sauvignon blanc. Pinot grigio fits this bill perfectly with its gamut of flavors and variety of styles.
The versatile grape will grow almost anywhere, but the cooler coastal regions of California are ideal. The cool growing season produces a wine that showcases the zesty acidity that is the hallmark of its clean, crisp style.
Even with summer winding down and the flavors of our hearty reds around the corner, there’s still time for a refreshing engagement with this delightful grape.
- 2010 Mirassou Winery Pinot Grigio, California (about $13 retail)
- 2010 Beringer Founders’ Estate Pinot Grigio, California (about $12 retail)
- 2010 Concannon Vineyards Pinot Grigio, California (about $12 retail)
- 2010 Tamas Estates Pinot Grigio, California (about $12 retail)
- 2010 Cupcake Vineyards Pinot Grigio, California (about $10 retail)
- 2010 Sterling Vineyards Vintner’s Collection Pinot Grigio, California (about $16 retail)
- 2009 MacMurray Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Gris, California (about $28 retail)
- 2010 Swanson Vineyards Pinot Grigio, California (about $26 retail)
- 2010 Coppola Diamond Pinot Grigio, California (about $16 retail)