A couple of weeks ago I came across a blog (http://thedrunkencyclist.com) that addressed the question of Pinot Grigio — more specifically, Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio. I have long puzzled over the popularity of this wine and was thrilled to see someone writing about his experiences with it. Maybe his post could explain to me what it was I had been missing.
When I worked at Trader Joe’s pouring wine, I would occasionally get asked if we carried Santa Margherita. We didn’t. Although I pointed out — and often poured tastes of — other white wines we did carry, they were fanatical about their devotion to SM PG. So now I’m reading what someone else, who also had questions about this wine, had to say, and I quote (in part):
There was an interesting nose of banana and coconut and on the palate there was an inviting acidity that screamed “food”. I thought “Hmmpf, this might not be all that bad!”
I threw the wine back in the fridge to put a tad more chill on it. After a bit, I tried it again.
Close to flavorless. Now that’s the Pinot Grigio I was expecting.
That got me thinking (never a good thing). Most whites are served far too cold, and I have never had a Pinot Grigio that was served anywhere near 40 degrees (4 degrees Celsius) let alone 50 (10 Celsius). I wonder if those hordes of Pinot Grigio drinkers would still like the wine if it were served at a temperature that they could actually taste the wine?
I would venture to guess “No.”
So last week when friends came by for Happy Hour on the patio (the weather is getting pretty nice these evenings) and Barb brought a bottle of Santa Margherita, I was like, “A-Ha! Now’s my chance!” And although the wine of the evening was pretty much Paso Robles red, I was delighted to taste Barb’s SM PG. And after swirling and sniffing, sipping and savoring, I’m sorry to say, I still don’t get it! I’d heard descriptions of “sweet” (really?) and “delicious” and “rich” and I could only wonder what these people were drinking. I got a hint of tropical fruit — maybe unripe pineapple — and some citrus. The finish was tart.
I know we all have different palates, but I cannot imagine how anyone could think it tasted sweet. That is beyond me. As I said to the Drunken Cyclist (and his blog is very clever — you should check it out), there are so many good wines out there, why make the effort? I say just pick up a bottle of a nice Roussane or Viognier that is rich and luscious and leave the Pinot Grigio to the ones who have a taste for it.
And I’m happy to report that Barb has said she will work on learning to like red wines if we will only teach her. Oh, baby, you’ve come to the right place. We are a group of red wine aficionados. Fasten your seat belt!
Shameless Plug: If you like wine, you’ll like reading my book about my time working for Phyllis Diller: “”Beyond the Spotlight: On the Road with Phyllis Diller.” Okay, not really — they have nothing whatever to do with each other, but I just thought I’d mention it. http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Spotlight-Road-Phyllis-Diller/dp/0985972882