Friday, January 05, 2007

A Fashionable White: 2005 Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Gris

According to most wine marketing experts, Pinot Gris (or Pinot Grigio) is one of the most popular white wine varietals at the moment. As you know, I like drinking unfashionable wines because they typically represent good value for money. But I've always liked Elk Cove wines (used to drink them even more before Pinots Noir and Gris got chichi), so I picked up a bottle in November. I see that its inclusion on the Wine Spectator's annual top wines list has made the prices on the remaining bottles go up! But this wine can still be found in most parts of the country for under $20

The 2005 Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley ($12.99, Beverages and More) doesn't exhibit all the varietal characteristics of a classic pinot gris, but its relatively low price point compared to many other Pinot Gris wines in the market means that this is still a wine with very good QPR. Light straw color, it has a sweet peach (rather than the more typical citrus and pear) aroma coupled with mild floral scents. Flavors of peaches and cream follow on your palate, with a hint of toasted almond at the end. Lush and delicious, this wine invites you back to the glass again and again for more.

Because this wine was softer, rounder, and richer than most Pinot Gris, I felt it would be best with foods that you might have with gewurztraminer, such as spicier fare and shellfish. We had this with one of our favorite Rachael Ray recipes: Thai Chicken Pizza. This wine would also be excellent with other spicy foods, be they Thai, Indian, Chinese, or Creole.

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