“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences”  . Audre Lorde

Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris. Same grape. Different white wines; so different in taste that many people don’t realize both are made from the same grape.  Consider Syrah and Shiraz as the same but different grape in the red category, though I think the Grigio/Gris style is even more pronounced. Here, in the U.S., the Grigio style has won the pocketbook vote of consumers. It is a light, crisp, citrusy-fruity but dry white wine that is easily enjoyed and easily affordable.  A good choice in the summer outdoors, it is picnic palatable, goes nicely with seafood in restaurants and if you open a bottle with visiting friends everyone will be comfortable with it.  No wonder it became so popular!

Northeastern Italy is the epicenter of Pinot Grigio viniculture
About as far northeast as you can go.
and production. Here the cool temperatures assure grapes of increased acidity to provide the mouthwatering finish that consumers love.  Since the grape itself is not naturally high in acid, grapes in Friuli, Venezia, and Guila are picked early (thankfully not so as to make for an offensive vegetative character – timing is everything) while acids are relatively high and sugar not at its peak. Fermentation and storage is traditionally done in stainless-steel tanks in order to preserve freshness, fruit and the “zing” quality of Grigio.  Seldom is oak used as it would add weight and tertiary notes not consumer associated with the style.  Pinot Gris, with grapes ripened, is rich and weightier. It is heavier in mouthfeel and (for me) makes a better match for some fish meals. 

I enjoy both styles.  Each serves its purpose. But I know from experience that success breeds imitation and over production and waves of watery thin and quaffable but overpriced Pinot Grigio have washed ashore.  I wanted something different.  Yes, there’s a PG or two out there that have become my “go-to” Pinot Grigios.  But, tasting wine as frequently as I have comes with the potential of jading the palate and I wanted something different. It was time to experiment. Pinot Grigio, yes, but not my “go to” wine.  Different, but same.  Fortunately, I found what I was looking for within the glass of a bottle of Blasson Wines’ Pinot Grigio (2015).  As for northeast Italy, Giovanni Blasson’s winery is only ten miles from Italy’s eastern border with Slovenia. About as far northeast in cool temperature Italy as you can go. His D.O.C. Pinot Grigio immediately commanded my palate’s attention as most PG wines have not for sometime. Yes, this was Pinot Grigio. The nose offered Meyer lemon, ripe-ripe pear, salinity and notes of white flower, but all so reserved. I know tasters that referred to a nose that “jumped” from the glass, but that was not my experience. This was refined, subtle, and artful. I was interested.

Then came texture. Pinot Grigio is, for me, not a palate weighted wine.  But this had body. It had texture like a Pinot Gris. Still, the fruit was there; all the traditional fruit so expected of Grigio: lime, lemon (Meyer), kiwi, and fresh cut red apple and with a whisper of melon (orange).  It finished with a bitter green apple taste. For a Pinot Grigio, this was becoming complex. The acidity was there, but – like the fruit – melded into a tapestry of elegance and reserved finesse.  Blasson juice is never oaked, but benefits from gentle lees stirring which accounts for the richness and adds elegance, while maintaining the expected fruit of the style. Found at Vin Chicago for $10 retail, it didn’t just excite my palate, it pleased my pocketbook.  It was different. It was good. It was a positive palate exciting experiment I will be repeating.

Cent' anni 
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Azienda Agricola di Giovanni Blason
Estate Bottled
Country: Italy
Region: Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Sub Region (Appelation): Isonzo del Friuli D.O.C.
Alc: 12.5%
Imported by: Terraneo Merchants: 


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