As far as grapes go, Pinot Gris has a pretty tough life… As Pinot Grigio, this grape has contributed to millions of gallons of insipid and watery Italian white wine that frankly has less character than the Aqua Minerale perched next to your order of Bruschetta. Thankfully this is changing and producers like Alois Lageder are proving that Pinto Grigio can make respectable wine. Across the Alps into France the grape fairs better, but is often beaten out by the competition – Pinot Blanc, Riesling and the ever exotic Gewurztraminer. The racy acidity that is often a hallmark of well-made Pinot Gris is underappreciated when put beside the alluring characters of its brethren. Domestically, Pinot Gris is often lost in a sea of buttery Chardonnay, competing like a plain-Jane wall flower at the High School prom against the likes of Pamela Anderson during her best Bay Watch years.

Thankfully, winemakers in the Pacific Northwest have found that the growing conditions are a perfect match for producing wonderful Pinot Gris and the folks at Elk Cove Vineyards are masters with the grape. Expressive, beautiful with a pleasingly crisp palate – what more could one ask for in a wine? At an average retail price of $19.99 per bottle it may not be the cheapest wine on the shelf, but it sings “value wine.”

My tasting note:

Bright, lively nose with citrus, floral and mineral hints – lovely and seductive. Medium-bodied with racy acidity – crisp and clean – very well-balanced. Tart, mouthwatering with good mid-palate fruit – lemony with subtle pear and green apple notes. Moderate length with a pleasant, lingering finish. Drinking well now – not for aging, but the screw cap closure will ensure some longevity.