Joel Gott and his wife Sarah aren’t people who sit still. With their own wine production in both California and Oregon, as well as joint ventures with the likes of Trinchero and Three Thieves, and chains of burger bars and wine shops, their portfolio is certainly diverse. Set up in the mid 90’s, their wines are designed to be premium but affordable, and having captured the imagination of critics and columnists almost immediately, their name has been synonymous with great wine ever since. This Pinot Gris captures their ethos brilliantly.
What is Pinot Gris?
The same grape as Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris is considered a very high quality varietal with a greyish, pink skin, which often lends a very light blush tone to the colour of the resulting wine. Pinot Gris is the French spelling; Grigio the Italian, but each has come to represent a unique stylistic interpretation.
- Pinot Grigio wines are often fresh, acidic and delicate with notes of lemon, light florality and a touch of almond. The grapes are grown in high yielding vineyards and picked early which leads to their delicate character and lower alcohol.
- Pinot Gris wines explore the full textural potential of the grape, with complexities of honey and rose, alongside lemon, ripe pear and oatmeal. They tend to have weight on the palate, they’re silky and rich, often at the expense of acidity.
Where else is it made?
Pinot Gris is most famously made in Alsace, France, where remarkable wines range from dry to very sweet. The grape is quite susceptible to botrytis, the noble rot that leads to the great dessert wines, and as such it’s not uncommon to find Pinot Gris with a little sweetness. The other locations specialising in the ‘Gris’ style are the USA and New Zealand.
Why is Oregon good for Pinot Gris?
Oregon is very similar climatically to mid-France - regions such as Loire to the west of France and Burgundy in the centre are the inspiration for many Oregon producers. So it makes sense that Alsace to the east also plays its part in the minds of Oregonian winemakers. It comes as no surprise then that Oregon Pinot Gris is European in style, whereas examples from California tend to be more tropical and concentrated.
An extremely drinkable and ‘vinous’ wine, this is polished stuff, very hard not to admire. Beautifully balanced, flavours of soft pears, white peach, melon and white flowers underpin a soft, full texture. Where this wine really excels is in showcasing so much Pinot Gris quality, so vividly defined, whilst not being one iota flabby or unfocused. It’s like top class Alsace turned up a notch.