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Killer Pinot Gris from Keller, Kiwis

Northside Staff
Tasters: Dave Pohl, ed., Dana Malley, Jason Wentworth, Mark Britten, & Robert Bradley

As of 2012, Pinot Grigio was the 4th most popular wine in the U.S., following on the heels of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. A great deal of it hails from Italy, and much of it is notable for its low price and rather neutral flavor profile.

Outside of Italy, Pinot Grigio is frequently referred to by its French name, Pinot Gris, and in Germany and Austria it goes by Grauer Burgunder. American producers typically use the name Pinot Grigio for wines made in a lighter style. Producers of fuller or more characterful styles are more likely to use the Pinot Gris designation.

The staff at Northside Wine & Spirits recently blind tasted twenty Pinot Gris wines produced in countries other than Italy. France, Germany, New Zealand, Argentina, California, Oregon, and New York were each represented in the tasting. The wines displayed a variety of styles, ranging from crisp and lemony to rich and peachy.

The staff’s top pick was the Keller 2013 Grauer Burgunder trocken, produced in Germany’s Rheinhessen region. Klaus-Peter Keller is currently the darling of German wine aficionados all over the world. He currently produces some of the very finest dry wines in Germany, mainly from Riesling. However, he also produces small amounts of wine made from other varieties.

The Keller 2013 Grauer Burgunder is a shimmering beauty that somehow manages to be crisp, juicy, and creamy all at once. Its complex flavors hint at citrus, apple, vanilla, and peach. It’s a gorgeous wine that fully justifies it $26 price tag.

Two of the tasting’s best values were the entries from New Zealand. Both the Lawson’s Dry Hills 2013 Pinot Gris ($18) and the Tablelands 2013 “Single Vineyard” Pinot Gris ($15) were bright, citrusy, and refreshing, certain to appeal to those already hooked on New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

The Keller wine will make a fine accompaniment to chicken and pork dishes, as well as fuller flavored fish dishes and pastas with a creamy sauce. Try the New Zealand examples with lighter pastas or simply prepared fish. All three are sure to please!

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