Jeff’s Corner 6-10-22

Years ago (maybe 2000) my good friend, colleague, and wine mentor Kyle Kimbrough was giving a presentation to my wine class from Del Mar College in Corpus Christi. Kyle was head of the wine department at Glazer’s Distributors, and every semester Kyle would invite my students over to tour the warehouse and learn about the wholesale wine industry.

Kyle was talking about his “scientific” theory that popular wine trends were often dictated by whatever wine name was fun and made people feel hip when they said it. (Gewürztraminer has yet to qualify by this standard.) He looked in his crystal ball and correctly predicted that Pinot Grigio was going to be the next craze.

Kyle went on to say that Pinot Grigio was “the light beer of the wine world,” a comparison that works whether you like the grape or not. Sure enough, about this time Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio became everyone’s darling and took the white wine market by storm.

Santa Margherita is located in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy, and in 1961 began separating the grape skins from the juice before fermentation. Before that, they were fermented together and produced what are called “Ramato”, or “copper” wines. (The skin of Pinot grapes can vary from a gray/violet to a silvery blue, or even an ashen-yellow.) This break in tradition produces the crisp, clean, and refreshing style of Pinot that is so appealing to us today.

So, just like predictable cinema, this brings us to our just-released 2021 GCV Pinot Grigio. I’m not sure when we first started producing Pinot, but when Kath and I started working at GCV we were pouring the ’08 vintage. (In 2015 we released a Ramato, and our Heath Sparkling Ebullience is often done as an old-world, copper-style wine.)

Our ’21 Pinot Grigio has more than adequately stepped into the shoes of the 2020 that won best-of-show at the Monterey International Competition last year. It is a brilliant, ultra-pale straw in color with a made-for-food ABV of 12.3%. Subtle, delicate citrus aromas of tangerine, Meyer lemon, and orange blossom flirt with ripe pear, cantaloupe, and butterscotch.

I really like the fact our Pinots typically show more fruit and complexity than I usually associate with this grape, and the ’21 is no exception. The palate is light-bodied and well-balanced, with a crisp, clean finish that makes it an ideal quaffer for what is shaping up to be a brutally hot summer.

This wine begs for well-chilled stone crab claws, drawn butter, and a warm (hot) ocean breeze. Let’s serve this brisk, refreshing wine around 45*.