Pinot Grigio has long upheld the stereotype as the wine of choice for the uneducated masses, but how accurate is this? It would seem that this is a sentiment shared by many. However, could this simply be because those of us who cannot be considered connoisseurs would naturally opt for a wine they feel familiar with and a wine that is universally drinkable, across borders and classes? It’s fair to say that the cheaper supermarket varieties of Pinot Grigio are decidedly dreary, but this is true of any grape variety, bad winemakers will produce bad wine irrespective of the grape or who is drinking it. So if bad winemakers make bad wine, it makes sense to assume the opposite for the more diligent winemakers out there.
For a more superior Pinot Grigio you will have to wave goodbye to the supermarket isles and say hello to the lovely stone floors and stacked high shelves of proper wine merchants, the experience is almost as enjoyable as drinking the wine itself, browsing the bottles with wide eyes and anticipating the wonderful flavours that you will taste. And when you consider that you can nab a bottle of Garganega 2011 Albinoni for just £4.89 at Majestic, well it’s not bad for a bottle of the good stuff.
Pinot Grigio, a close cousin to the perhaps more respected Pinot Noir, originated in Italy and is one of the most popular wines imported to the UK and America. It’s an extremely translatable wine; it can be paired with countless dishes, be enjoyed with countless friends and serve as a lovely welcome home tipple after a long day at work. So why does it have such a bad reputation? Its relative inexpensiveness and wide availability could have something to do with it as these factors inevitably result in increased consumption, by all kinds of people.
You hear tales of people ordering a glass of Pinot and subsequently feeling the wrath of the bartender as though they just asked for a pint of blood. The slight head tilt, the judgemental glare and finally the phrase; ‘have you looked at our wine menu?’ If ordering a glass of Pinot might tarnish you a 'chav' then perhaps a more concerted gander at the wine menu is in order, instead of just asking for the first thing that pops into your head, maybe take your time, browse and try something new.
Having said that, Pinot can’t be all that bad, after all just because it fails to please some, doesn’t mean to say that there aren’t a few gems out there. It’s a sad fact that mass production has forced poor, obliging Pinot to the brink of neglect, relegating it to Wetherspoons and the like. But really speaking it’s a quintessential wine with versatility that can be enjoyed at a reasonable price if you know where to look. Pinot, in the right hands, can be an enjoyable tipple. So maybe keep in mind the old adage: don’t judge a bottle by its label.
Written by Emily Meddings
Here is a list of our recommended primo Pinot's:
Ponte del Diavolo 2010 £9.04, eVines. Lovely elegance on the palate, with ripe pears, a touch of sherbet and a nutty note offset by the characteristic freshness of wines from Friuli.
Ancora Pinot Grigio £6.58, eVines. Crisp and delicate on the palate with lightly honeyed fruit balanced by lemony acidity and a fresh, dry finish.
Innocent Bystander Pinot Grigio £12.99, eVines. Honeydew melon and poached nashi pears on the palate. Rich, generous and long lasting with zingy acidity, the finish is refreshing.
Il Barone Pinot Grigio 2011 £7.99, Naked Wines. Crisp notes of apple and pear, a classic Pinot Grigio.
Argento Pinot Grigio 2011 £4.79 each for six, Bibenbum. Elegantly floral with hints of tropical fruits, pineapple and peach flavours. A brilliantly crisp finish.
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