Saturday 1 October 2016

Wine: Pino Grigio goes global

Liam Campbell

Published 24/05/2015 | 02:30

Pinot grigio - currently red hot with wine drinkers
Pinot grigio - currently red hot with wine drinkers
Pinot Sivi Vina Lugan
Pinot Grigio Finca La
Pinot Grigio Paparuda
Pinot Grigio Callia A
Peter Yealands

Pinot Grigio is one of those white wines that is currently red hot with wine drinkers. Essentially, undemanding and unpretentious. While originating from a variation of Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio is more of a pink-skinned grape than a black one. Consequently, Pinot Grigio can produce a Rosé wine as well as a white wine depending on whether or not there is any direct skin contact to colour the fermenting juice.

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Pinot Grigio has found favour with those who lean more towards a delicate minerally and citrusy, Chablis style of wine. While widely planted all over Italy, this blind tasting sought to see how Pinot Grigio planted outside Italy is performing. In Croatia, opposite Italy's east coast on the Adriatic Sea, Istria is the most northern of the coastal regions and enjoys a reputation for a food-focused lifestyle with complementing wines. The substantial investments by Romanian producers into technology have resulted in high-quality wines with reliable consistency, while Argentina plants vineyards higher on the Andes slopes to give a cooling influence on the wines' style.

Pinot Grigio prizes purity of fruit rather than any enhancement from oaky spice, making it a most versatile table companion. Tasty by itself and an eloquent ego-massager to salads and to pale and interesting saucy fish and fowl.

The tide of interest is continuing to rise for Pinot Grigio.

1) Pinot Sivi 2013, Vina Laguna, Istri (Istria region), Hrvatska (Croatia) 12.5pc

Concentrated grassy and vegetal aromas. Distinct minerality with a tasty salty note. A distinct and attractive Chablis-like mineral streak throughout and lingering on the finish. Perfect with shellfish and grilled fish.

€15.95 at Hole in the Wall, Blackhorse Avenue, Dublin 7 and Clontarf Wines, Dublin 3.

2) Pinot Grigio 2014, Finca Las Moras, Argentina 12pc

Muted steely aromas. Gentle flavours of lemon peel and yellow apples awaken the taste buds. Long after-taste of fresh lemon peel. Great with a creamy asparagus and pea risotto.

€9.99 at La Touche,

Greystones and in Dublin: Higgins, Clonskeagh; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Drink Store, Manor Street; Cork's, Terenure; Old Orchard, Rathfarnham and Londis, KCR Kimmage.

3) Pinot Grigio 2013, Paparuda, Romania 12.5pc

Fresh and simple palate of crunchy green apple and a little lemon peel. Match with grilled calamari rings and a garlic mayonnaise.

€9.99 at Ardkeen Superstores, Waterford; wineonline.ie and Dwan's Off Licence, Knocklyon.

4) Pinot Grigio 2014, Callia Alta, San Juan region, Argentina 13pc

Ripe melon and mint scents. Very zesty palate, pithy, green apple with an invigorating lemony finish. Enjoy with chicken pan-fried in butter and garlic with spaghetti.

€12.99 at World Wide Wines, Waterford. In Dublin: Martin's, Fairview; Goose Off-licence, Drumcondra and The Village Off-licence, Castleknock.

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