Jeff’s Corner

Howdy, Howdy,

Kathy and I just got back from some much-needed chill time on the Frio River last week, but our return was not without drama. While we were gone, our cat, Rio Frio, somehow learned she was named after the river, rather than the river being named after her. She was very upset, and we had some serious explaining to do to keep her from calling SPCA.

Anyway, one of the many great wines we enjoyed while listening to the river “sing sweet songs” was the 2014 Heath Vineyards Pinot Noir. It may be the best Pinot Noir we’ve ever had. It was fully mature with silky, rich layers of red fruit and a perfectly balanced, lingering finish. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these beauties, now is a great time to pull the cork!

And, somehow, all of this leads us to check out another Pinot, our just-released, brand new 2019 Pinot Grigio. Modern day Pinot Grigio dates back to the Middle Ages in Burgundy, where it was most likely known as Fromenteau. It was a color mutation of Pinot Noir, and aside from color they have extremely similar DNA. “Pinot” means pine cone, and is a reference to the shape of the clusters. In the 1300s it was taken to Switzerland, and later to Alsace, Italy, and Germany.

This grape has many monikers. In Alsace, she (to me it’s a very feminine grape) is known as Pinot Gris (Gris and Grigio mean “gray” which is a reference to the blueish-gray color of the skins), while in Germany it’s known as Rulander or Grauburgunder (grey burgundy). We know her best from northeast Italy, where she hangs out in Veneto and Trentino as Pinot Grigio.

Our ’19 Pinot Grigio is a pale, translucent yellow with a slight hint of green on the rim. Straightforward, unpretentious, and extremely quaffable, this is a classic northern Italian-style Pinot with refreshing aromas of lemon/lime, tangerine, banana, pear, green apple, and almond. An undercurrent of steely minerality adds backbone to its refreshing texture.

The palate is bright, clean, crisp, and balanced. The lingering finish is a delightful surprise, dominated by well-integrated citrus flavors and brisk acidity. This is a fresh, delicate wine that is perfect on the porch while idly watching leaves float to the ground.  

With a food-friendly ABV of 12.5%, our new Pinot is best served around 45*. Let’s try it with a Crab Louie Salad garnished with avocado and cucumber made from fresh Texas jumbo lump blue crab…