Wine Review: 2006 Kris Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie

2 06 2011

Every label needs a good dose of Surrealism. Look at the colour on that Pinot Grigio!

I got this wine as a gift from my awesome in-laws…thanks Alan and Margaret!  In my experience, there’s no wine that’s better than free wine.  I don’t often drink Pinot Grigio, but here’s what I know about it: (1) its most well-known renditions come from northeast Italy (as this one does); (2) it remains one of Italy’s best selling wine exports and has found a willing and thirsty audience in North America; and (3) it is the same grape as Pinot Gris, a varietal grown in Alsace (France), Oregon and Canada, among other places, although the wines from the two versions of the PG grape are almost nothing like each other.  Pinot Grigio tends to be dry, light-bodied, very pale, high in acid and neutral, crisp and refreshing, while Pinot Gris is fuller, richer, deeper in colour, more complex in flavour and used for both dry and sweeter wines.  I’ve had my fair share of Pinot Gris, but only a handful of Pinot Grigio, so tonight I broaden my horizons.

Since Pinot Grigio is light and tart and is normally put together as a summer patio-sipper type of wine, it is generally best when consumed young, when its fruit flavours are still fresh.  As you will see, the 2006 Kris was quite unlike the standard Pinot Grigio description set out in the last paragraph, which is largely due to the fact that it has 5 years of age on it, which has deepened its colour (white wines get darker as they age), mellowed its acid and altered its flavour profile.  It was a deep golden colour in the glass, more reminiscent of its Alsatian twin, and featured a variety of secondary flavours on the nose to go along with some buried baked apple fruit:  flowers, butter, tires, soap and even liniment.  Apart from the floral notes, none of these flavours are part of the usual PG package.  The palate was equally unusual, with an almost Chardonnay-esque soft, mellow, creamy texture and languid rounded acidity to go along with a medium body.  I could taste more fruit than I could smell, with pineapple and other tropical notes straining to make themselves known, but these still took a back seat to age-driven rubbery, medicinal, vegetal flavours which led into a medium length petrol-like finish.

Cork Rating: 2.5/10 (Um, OK.)

Despite the unusual tasting notes, the overall drinking experience wasn’t unpleasant, and it was interesting to see the wine’s maturation and development play out in the glass.  However, if this is the first Pinot Grigio review you’ve ever read, I’m probably not doing you any favours, because this bottle is certainly atypical of the PG prototype.  For a wine in this range made from this grape to stand up to 5 years aging without coming out totally flat and tired is impressive, and I would be intrigued to try the current vintage of Kris to see how the two bottles compare, but getting to try a wine like this is a vinous education in a bottle.

It may be a few days before my next review, as my WSET course wraps up this weekend and I need to study (exam on Saturday — bom bom BOM).  But I just wanted to give everyone reading this a quick shout out and thank you, because PnP cleared 3,000 hits this week and is now at 3,118 and counting!  Go blog-reading team!  Thanks again for continuing to support Pop & Pour — if you ever have thoughts, comments, questions or suggestions on wines or wine topics, I’d love to hear from you.  Cheers!

84+ points

$10 to $15 CDN 

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