While we did do a worldwide comparison of different Pinot Gris appellations in August 2015, this was our first tasting of only Pinot Grigo from Italy.
In summary, these were largely well-made wines that exhibited varietal character paired with lively acidity, and were easy to enjoy. They also offered value – none were more than $20. Most came from the heartland of Pinot Grigio production in Italy, the northeastern corner, and our top three came from appellations mostly associated with higher altitude, giving them more of the uplift and vibrancy that we liked.
Interestingly, our third place finisher turned out to be the same producer and “product” as our last place entry. But the lot numbers on the back label were clearly different, and they had different colored capsules, showing clear differences in production or storage.
First Place: Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio 2017 (Collio). Offered a generous nose of butter, grass, toasted marshmallow, fresh herbs, lemons, baby powder, orange rind, and an ocean air/saline quality. Complex in the mouth, with plenty of acidity to go with flavors of yogurt, red apple, and honey. Longest finish of the night, and the most well-rounded. Refreshing. David, Ali, and Andy’s favorite of the night. Received 30 total points. David’s bottle. About $20.
Second Place: Scarpetta Pinot Grigio 2018 (Friuli). Very clear in the glass. Tastes found scents of white peaches, lemons, honeydew melon, grape juice, Fruit Stripe gum, Trident bubble gum, fresh linen, and an oily quality. Suzanne detected "a little laundry room.” Inviting, with some minerality too. Tasty, with flavors of lemons, stone fruits, lemon zest, green pear, and a hint of lime. Showed a quick finish that was slightly metallic, but we felt that one could drink a lot of this on a hot day, due to its refreshing, zippy qualities. Diana’s favorite. Received 23 points. Andy’s bottle. About $20.
Third Place: Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio Terra Alpina 2018 (Vigneti delle Dolomiti). Looks unfiltered, and exhibited aromas of peach, dairy, envelope glue, crushed up chalk, green dried herbs, bake shop, Necco wafers, and powdered sugar. Energized. Pleasant palate that includes flavors of orange rind, fresh herbs, sweet tea, peaches, tropical fruit, and canned pineapple. Nice minerality, and finishes with a little acidic uplift. Suzanne and Kristin’s favorite of the night, with a total of 19 points. Suzanne’s bottle. About $17.
Cantina Zaccagnini Pinot Grigio Tralcetto 2018 (Colline Pescaresi). Noticeably yellow in color and unfiltered, with scents reminiscent of gasoline, honeysuckle, slight dairy, and spearmint. Pretty, but also a bit musty and darker in profile. Richer texture, with flavors of honey, apple, clove, Fuji apple, orange marmalade, butterscotch, pine, and patchouli. Reminded Ali of Sauternes, and added that it "ends gravely, dirty.” Received 10 points. Diana’s bottle. About $17.
Santa Silvana Pinot Grigio 2018 (Alto Adige). Very unfiltered. Funky nose, like dirty diaper, skunk, egg nog, and dirty sponge. Ali felt that it "reminds me of a Canadian goose." Metallic taste, along with notions of gin & tonic, sour milk, limes, and dirty sponge with some lemon on it. Tart attack, then turned sweet with air and time. Short finish, but this did get better with food. 2 points. Kristin’s bottle. About $18.
Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio Terra Alpina 2018 (Vigneti delle Dolomiti). Soapy on the nose, along with notions of bubble gum, Ivory soap, white flowers, vanilla, and green guava. Clean. Saline. The palate showed sweetness and was in need of acidity. A singular note, and wine for soda drinkers. Diana felt that it was "kind of sugar water, like you'd give this to a hummingbird." No points. Ali’s bottle. About $18.