Like Syrah and Shiraz the names Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio can be confusing to some folks. Are they different grapes? They certainly taste like it sometimes, well, actually in both cases the grape is the same, but the way it is crafted into wine and often the origin are very different. Domestic Pinot Gris is usually associated with Oregon, but don’t discount Washington State and the wine behemoth Chateau Ste. Michelle, in particular the 2013 Chateau Ste Michelle Pinot Gris which is a wine that successfully treads the middle of Pinot Grigio extremes, steely mineral and smoky fruit.
Serve the 2013 Chateau Ste Michelle Pinot Gris chilled to start, but don’t fret if the hot weather warms it up before you finish, the wine experience did not suffer. In the glass this is a white gold color that with a swirl leads you into a nose of apple and pear with hints of vanilla spice in the background. Don’t linger long the bouquet is pleasant but the experience gets better in the tasting. The flavor profile is a smooth blend of Red Delicious apple, honeydew melon and an edgy spice character toward the end. Not a lean and clean wine there is a sense of roundness in the front to mid palate apple-melon fruit that finishes with a citric acidity providing a wine that will balance food, the bounty of the sea would be a good place to start, but also pleases the senses on its own merits.
While the Chateau Ste Michelle label is easy to find everywhere wine is sold the Pinot Gris varietal is not always stocked locally, especially in the grocery aisles. However when you find it expect to pay around $11, less if you find a sale price, but either way the price a bit under some other domestic Pinot Gris that grace our shelves and is well worth the expense.
Bottom line what do you get for the money? A food friendly wine that is 100% Pinot Gris, revealing the character of this grape without support from other varietals, as well as another opportunity to introduce people to a wine experience they or you may not have had before. Pick it up and sip it up.