What is it about off-dry wine made with the Pinot Gris grape that automatically makes me think of domestic work? Some wines need food pairings and sweet Pinot Gris can compliment spicier, asian influenced foods really well. More often or not Pinot Gris manifests itself in the market as a ubiquitous white wine to which one should drink very very cold, and preferably complete with clattering ice-cubes.
But do you independently choose to drink an Alsacien Grand Cru Pinot Gris with food? This is the kind of wine that I find leftover in the fridge. It was opened (probably last night) when we had guests. It was likely tasted, discussed, appreciated… and then surpassed by drier, cleaner, less cloy alternative. The dinner party continued, the Grand Cru Pinot Gris garnered official status as a curio. Perhaps the bottle was misunderstood? Perhaps it didn’t suit the food. It’s back palate is heavy with residual sugar, the texture has signature oiliness, the finish is more than a little bitter… yet the structure is there, mineral & unfolding complexity.
Finally, 24 hours past the first taste, in between washing loads and ironing baskets I find Alsacien Pinot Gris! EUREKA! I see the variety clearly for what its region wants it to be, what it should be… and even understand how it’s internationally commercial interpretations have become thus! All hail the ever-flexible Pinot Gris!
Yet, even after finding peace with the 2007 Florian Beck-Hartweg Grand Cru Frankstein Pinot Gris, I still prefer the style dry. Complete with the natural pink colouring the grape was born with!
I love the way Kevin Kelley is fermenting his at the N.P.A in Santa Rosa, California – all whole cluster! Pax Mahle is also keeping the colour with a no-fuss all-skin fermentation in his Wind Gap Pinot Gris from Forestville, California. At the other end of the world Neil Prentice is making his Pinot Gris under the Holly’s Garden label with skin contact from a high altitude vineyard in the Whitlands, Victoria.
There ought (and IS!) a wine suitable for every occasion. Until now, I never realised the flavours of a little sweetness and Pinot Gris paired so well with domesticity, but there it is. Try it for yourself if you don’t believe me!