I had a quick pasta carbonara with my children tonight, Jack and Isabel. They are over in Tuscany for spring break from England. And I popped the cork on a 2005 Schiopetto Collio Pinot Grigio to go with the pasta. The wine is so beautiful with melon, pie crust and citrus character on the nose and palate. It’s rich yet fresh.
But Pinot Grigio has a pretty bad rap in the States. And it’s probably deserved. There is a lot of insipid white bottled as Pinot Grigio. It became the “new” Chardonnay in the 1990s, and Italy sold millions and millions of bottles to the States. Now it seems to be made everywhere from Australia to Oregon. Who knows if it’s really Pinot Grigio or not? It seems to have become a synonym for neutral and citrusy white.
And it seems that price points aren’t a guarantee either. You can get a good or bad bottle for $7 or a good or bad one for $20 or even $40. So beware.
But if you want to know what excellent Italian Pinot Grigio has to offer, look for my favorite producers including: Schiopetto, Vie di Romans, S. Michael-Eppan, Alois Lageder, Cantina Tramin and Cantina Terlano. The last two are cooperatives in Alto Adige and make excellent whites for the money. Don’t worry about vintages. Just buy the newest possible, which would be 2005 and 2004 at the moment. The 2006s should be shipping now. They sell for between $20 and $35 a bottle.