I sometimes tend to look at pinot grigio as a light-uninteresting-mass market-used in cheesy spring party in someone’s backyard lawn kind of wine. Over the course of time, pinot grigio has become the most popular and widely imported wine into the U.S. As a society we tend to be influenced easily by media and pop-culture, so I’m not surprised that with the number of print ads and commercials depicting pinot grigio as a “lifestyle” white wine, that pinot grigio has become so popular.
Unfortunately, popularity in certain varietals can sometimes compel producers who are not in it for the craft, to make mass-produced low quality styles just to satisfy a trendy demand and make a quick buck. Just look at “I’m not drinking no f*@%^ng merlot’s” rise in the 80’s and fall in 2005 as an example of the effect of mass media and pop-culture.
Fortunately Steve Clifton and his Palmina Wines label celebrate Pinot Grigio and see it as more than just a crisp white wine. We each had a glass of it this past weekend at Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar in Honolulu and were blown away by it.
On the nose, various stone fruits, zesty citrus and white flowers. In the mouth, the intensity and impact of the wine far belied its pale color and delicate aroma. Mega-intense in weight and alive, zesty and zippy in it’s attack on our palates. The wine exploded with mouth-watering citrus fruits on the first sip. White peach and stone fruits on the mid-palate and tropical fruits of mango and ripe pineapple on the finish. Also on the finish was a hint of smokiness, lemongrass and a bone dry, snappy finish. This was a complex wine indeed.
Palmina also makes a host of other Italian red and white varietals. I love all of their wines, but I think their craft really shows in their white wine program. Try their Malvasia Bianca, Traminer and Tocai Friulano. They’re wonderful wines.