Oregon's Great White Wine
By Wes Marshall,
8:50AM, Sat. Jan. 13, 2018
Just like Texans have become very proud (rightly) of their Viognier, Oregon has a similar soft spot for Pinot Gris. If the grape’s name isn’t familiar, it is genetically the same as Pinot Grigio, though the two names connote major stylistic differences.
Pinot Grigio refers to the Italian version of the wine, which usually ranges from the too often insipid wine you find in a grocery for $6 a bottle to the more powerful wines from Friuli and Alto Adige, hard up against the borders of Slovenia and Austria. But when you see the varietal named Pinot Gris, that means they seek to emulate the Alsacienne style which is rich enough to stand up to a massive roasted pork shoulder and ranges from bone-dry to quite sweet.
The problem is a good bottle of Pinot Gris from Alsace can get pretty pricey, so thank goodness for the lovely wines being produced in Oregon. Chehalem, Erath, and King Estate are three of the most dependable brands. Prices vary between $18 all the way down to the occasional $10 sighting. But the winner, in my opinion, for its stunning price to quality ratio is A to Z Pinot Gris. It is almost always available for less than $14, sometimes much less. The wine is a partnership of several A-list players from the Oregon wine industry, but its primary owner is … Coach Popovich! You can say thanks for all those great teams he’s given us and taste one of the best white wine values from the Pacific Northwest. My favorite food pairing is with linguine & clam sauce, but try it with carnitas or spicy Asian fare, too.