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Senior editor Dana Nigro joined Wine Spectator in 1998. She is managing editor of WineSpectator.com.
Dana Nigro

An Oregon White with Green Credentials

Ponzi Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 2008

Dana Nigro
Posted: January 18, 2010

In the mood for an easygoing white, I stopped in at a New York retailer and was happy to find the 2008 Pinot Gris from Ponzi Vineyards, whose Pinot Noirs I’ve enjoyed. Oregon Pinot Gris is such a food-friendly wine, and most are priced at under $20, as this was. Plus many of the state’s vineyards are farmed sustainably.

My husband and I opened the white with a simple weekday dinner of pasta tossed with chicken and mixed vegetables. Simultaneously light in feel yet rich in flavor, the dry Pinot Gris proffered appealing Bartlett pear and Golden Delicious apple. It started off with a slightly creamy texture but finished with the juiciness of crisp apple slices splashed with a squeeze of lemon. 89 points, non-blind.

In 2009, I interviewed winemaker Luisa Ponzi, who happened to be in New York when the Oregon Wine Board unveiled the statewide Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine Program, in which Ponzi was a pilot participant with three wines. The 2008 Pinot Gris, sourced from multiple vineyards, doesn’t carry the OCSW label, which requires 97 percent certified fruit. But the wine does come predominantly from LIVE certified sustainable vineyards. While Ponzi will be buying only from growers with certification, not enough of their sources had finished the multiyear process as of that vintage to produce what is one of their larger-volume wines—7,000 cases in 2008.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Ponzi Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 2008 (89, $17).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Oregon Pinot Gris.

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