I’ll admit it, I am not the biggest pinot grigio fan. There are times where I have been out and about at a rooftop bar in the summer and have wanted a crisp, refreshing wine to cool down with. Usually choices by the glass in these venues are limited but you can always find a pinot grigio. Yes, I have enjoyed these in the moment but I definitely don’t seek them out. Did you know pinot grigio and pinot gris are the same grape? Pinot gris is the French name and pinot grigio is the Italian name. In the US both are used and normally indicate what style of wine you can expect. Lighter body with simple flavors would be pinot grigio while pinot gris will have more nuanced flavors and more medium body. I have been known on occasion to shake my head in a wine shop in the Italian whites section. It’s always a sea of pinot grigio. I would lament to my husband, “where is the Vernaccia di San Gimignano, where is the Soave, where is the Gavi?”. I could go on and on. The simple truth is that the majority of people love what is simple, classic, inexpensive pinot grigio and there is nothing wrong with that. I, however, love to try other Italian white grapes of which there are many wonderful varietals to choose from.
Now that my WSET 2 classes are over, I am continuing my wine studies by reading several wine books. While reading about Italy in The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil, she wrote about a style of pinot grigio found in the Alto Adige wine region. While reading about the wines produced in this region, the descriptions spoke to me. On my next wine shopping excursion I found J. Hofstätter Pinot Grigio 2018 IGT from Tramin-Termeno in the Alto Adige. This area is the northernmost wine region in Italy and is known for growing pinot grigio among other white wine grapes. 62% of the wine produced here is white, but based on the protection from the Alps and the warming influences from both the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Garda it’s possible for black grapes to fully ripen here as well.
J. Hofstätter is a family owned winery with a long history of four generations of winemakers. They are the only wine estate to have vineyards on both the east and west banks of the Adige River. In addition to this pinot grigio they also produce gewürtztraminer, pinot blanc, Müller-Thurgau as well as red wine made from the black grapes of lagrein, pinot nero (pinot noir), merlot, and cabernet sauvignon.
This J. Hofstätter Pinot Grigio 2018 is quite crisp and refreshing. It is very pale, straw color in the glass. Medium bodied, with medium acidity and medium alcohol at 13.5% abv. There is a cool minerality with mostly lemon curd on the nose. On the palate are flavors of lemon, green pear, green apple, almond, and a hint of ginger on the long finish. When I originally first tried this wine I paired it with Half Baked Harvest’s burrata and artichoke pasta which really brought forth the lemon flavor of the wine. In my opinion this wine isn’t just for warm weather days. This is a great all year round white wine option and would pair well with fall dishes. I have since repurchased and enjoyed another bottle! I found this wine at a local organic food store on sale for $16.99 but normal retail seems to be about $19.99 online.