Let me first say that I had originally planned on picking up a bottle of Lieb Family Cellars' pinot blanc...a varietal they specialize in here on Long Island and one of my favorite non-riesling whites.
But then I received my wine club shipment from Channing Daughters Winery in the Hamptons...and what do you know...there was a bottle of their 2004 pinot grigio in there. I've written about Channing Daughters and their wines several times before ( 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ) before and I even drank their 2003 blaufrankisch for WBW #7.
I have to admit, however...I usually hate pinot grigio. So much of it, even the "good" stuff, reminds me of a glass of water with a couple lemon wedges squeezed in -- bland, uninteresting and barely drinkable.
After tasting this new release from Channing Daughters Winery, however, I now realize what can (and should) be done with this grape that has been abused by winemakers the world over.
Winemaker Christopher Tracy fermented this 100% pinot grigio in eight stainless steel barrels and one new Slovenian oak hogsmead before blending in late March. Only 208 cases were produced, and last I heard it was almost sold out to the wine club already (which is common with their wines--that's why I had to join the club).
Eyes: Very light gold with more of a lemon-yellow tinge.
Nose: Juicy pear and some green apple, accented by faint mineral notes.
Tongue: It's dry and lightly fruity with pear, apples and some citrus. Extremely refreshing with great crispness to balance the fruit, it also has a surprisingly long finish that ends with a little sweet spice and subtle hints of vanilla.
Though medium bodied it features a light, almost weightless mid-palate that both Nena and I noted.
Lenn's Grade: A-
Nena's Grade: A+
Overall: Wow. This wine garnered the first A+ from either of us, so that says something.
It would be delicious with cheese, most seafood or by itself all summer. We would definitely buy this again...if we have the chance before it sells out. I've long ignored pinot grigio/pinot gris because of the lesser wines made with it. I think it's time I explore some pinot gris from the Pacific Northwest. This wine has the complexity and chameleon characteristics that I like...it really changed as it warmed.