Tag Archives: Pinot Grigio

AG Pick: Barrymore Pinot Grigio 2013

Imagine if the bright, upbeat and fun personality of Drew Barrymore could be bottled in a white wine. What you’d get is the 2013 Barrymore Pinot Grigio.

Barrymore Pinot GrigioThe wine is a partnership between Barrymore Wines, founded by the actress and wine enthusiast, and Carmel Road Winery. The grapes are grown in Monterey, California, a cool, coastal region influenced by the Pacific Ocean.

Ideal growing conditions and stainless steel fermentation helped produce a wine that expresses the Pinot Grigio grape in its pure form. Citrus aromas introduce flavors of Meyer lemon, ripe white grapefruit, Asian pear and honeydew. The finish is crisp and refreshing, with lingering wet stone minerality.

The Barrymore Pinot Grigio pairs with a variety of food, from salads and sandwiches to light pasta and fish dishes. Drew recommends sharing it with friends and family as you make memories around the table.

The 2013 Pinot Grigio is the first Barrymore by Carmel Road wine. Additional varietals will be coming out this year.

For more information visit www.BarrymoreWines.com or www.CarmelRoad.com.

$14.99, 13.5% alcohol

Biltmore American Series

The American Series from The Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate is all decked out for the holidays, making it a picturesque time to visit. But if you’re not able to tour the historic home and winery, you can still bring a part of it into your home.

The American Series of wines from the Biltmore Estate are American grown and North Carolina produced. Winemakers source the grapes from top vineyards and growers in California and Washington, then craft the wines at the estate winery in Asheville.

Biltmore American Pinot GrigioThe Biltmore Estate American Pinot Grigio 2013 is light and refreshing with citrus, pear and apple notes and a touch of sweet tangerine. It’s a blend of California (90%) and Washington (10%) grapes, with a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay added to the Pinot Grigio. The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks at a low temperature to preserve the fresh fruit characteristics.

Winemakers at the Biltmore Estate suggest pairing the American Pinot Grigio with calamari with creamy lime sauce, scallops wrapped in bacon, crab cakes, chicken, seafood and tuna salads. $12, 13.6% alcohol

Biltmore American Pinot NoirThe Biltmore Estate American Pinot Noir 2012 has the lushness you look for in Pinot with an inviting spiciness from the addition of Syrah. Costing less than $20, it’s a great value. The grapes for this wine came entirely from California. After fermentation the wine spent six to eight months aging in stainless steel tanks, French and American oak barrels. Red cherry, plum and vanilla flavors mingle with white pepper and baking spice.

A versatile wine, the Biltmore Estate American Pinot Noir may be enjoyed with the varied flavors of any holiday meal. Other suggested pairings include salmon, smoked turkey, barbecue and Boursin cheese.
$17, 14.2% alcohol

Biltmore American Cabernet SauvignonThe Biltmore Estate American Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 brings together California, Washington and North Carolina, with 45% of the grapes coming from the estate vineyards in Asheville (46% from California and 9% from Washington). Rounding out the Cabernet Sauvignon is a touch of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Malbec and Pinot Noir. The wine was aged eight to twelve months in French and American oak barrels before it was blended and bottled. Medium in body with soft tannins, the red wine has supple notes of black currant, black cherry, boysenberry, vanilla and rosemary.

Suggested pairings from the Biltmore winemakers include lamb with rosemary, hamburgers and smoked Gouda cheese.
$17, 13.6% alcohol

For more information on the American Series and the other wines from the Biltmore Estate visit biltmorewines.com.

>> Connect:
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Twitter: @BiltmoreEstate
Instagram: @biltmoreestate

Snapshots from Kobrand Tour D’Italia

Earlier this month Kobrand Wine & Spirits brought its Tour d’Italia to the St. Regis Hotel in Buckhead. Winery owners and winemakers shared their latest releases with members of the wine trade and media.

Among the many delicious wines there were a number of standouts. Take a look at the AG’s picks in the snapshots below (click to enlarge), and look for them at wine shops and restaurants in the Atlanta area.

Geography Guide:

Piedmont (Northwest Italy) — Michele Chiarlo
Veneto (Northeast Italy) — Masi Agricola
Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Northeast Italy, east of Veneto) — Fernando Pighin & Figli
Tuscany (Central Italy, on western side) — Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari Tenute, Tenute Silvio Nardi

photo credit: Cara Isdell Lee

More Red Wines | More White Wines | Under $20

Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

A great Thanksgiving feast deserves a great wine!  Though selecting a bottle for your holiday dinner may seem a little daunting at first, the many flavors mean you can serve a variety of wines.

I’ve come up with a list of traditional pairings like Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, less common ones like semi-sweet white wines and even included a couple of tasty blends, all for less than $30 a bottle.

Here are wines that will pair well with your Thanksgiving meal:

Ca'Montini Pinot GrigioCa’Montini 2008 Pinot Grigio ($20)
This northern Italian white is my new favorite Pinot Grigio with its rich and creamy taste.  Relatively full-bodied for a Pinot Grigio, the wine has flavors of apple, peach, lemon and white grapefruit, with a hint of almond and hazelnut.  It’s an elegant pairing with turkey and lighter side dishes.

Washington Hills 2007 Gewurztraminer ($9)
This rich and well-balanced Gewurztraminer goes well with turkey and all the fixins.  Slightly sweet but still crisp, this white has flavors of pear, mandarin orange, pineapple and spice.

Heron Hill Ingle Vineyards RieslingHeron Hill 2006 Ingle Vineyards Riesling ($15) & Pinot Noir ($15)
Located in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, Heron Hill makes some delicious wines.  The 2006 Ingle Vineyards Riesling has an elegant bouquet of tropical fruit and jasmine that will add to the flavors from the meat and side dishes, while the wine’s natural acidity will pleasantly contrast with the sweetness of corn, sweet potatoes or gravy.  The Pinot Noir will bring toasty and spicy flavors to the table, while notes of cherry and plum will perfectly complement cranberry sauce.

Codorniu Pinot Noir Rose BrutCodorníu Pinot Noir Rosé Brut NV ($15)
Put a little sparkle into the traditional Pinot pairing with this Brut Cava from Spain.  Deep salmon in color with small and enthusiastic bubbles, this wine will certainly add a celebratory feel to your meal.  With flavors of strawberry and toast that come together in a crisp citrus finish, this sparkling wine goes well with turkey and all the sides.

Chehalem 2006 3 Vineyard Pinot Noir ($28)
This Pinot comes from Oregon’s Willamette Valley and has a great mix of red fruits and spice.  Flavors of spicy cherries and strawberries mix with cherry cola, cocoa, dried herbs and white pepper, with a hint of cedar on the finish.  Silky in texture, this wine is very easy to drink.

Beaujolais NouveauGeorges Duboeuf 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau ($9)
Released each year on the third Thursday in November, this light to medium bodied red from Burgundy is an ideal pairing for Thanksgiving.  Called the best vintage in 50 years, the 2009 has flavors of raspberry, blueberry and cherry with a hint of spice on the finish.  The tannins are intense for Gamay but still soft, balanced out by good acidity.

Gundlach Bundschu 2005 Mountain Cuvée ($24)
This Sonoma Valley red wine is one of my go to wines because it’s delicious and easy to drink.  It’s a medium-bodied blend of Merlot (71%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (21%), with Syrah and Cabernet Spanish QuarterFranc making up the rest.  Soft and round flavors of raspberries and cocoa lead to a spicy and meaty finish with lingering berry and cola notes.  This wine pairs well with turkey but is still elegant enough to go with lighter side dishes.

The Spanish Quarter 2007 Cabernet-Tempranillo ($10)
This red blend is a zesty and satisfying mix of Spain’s native varietal and a grape relatively new to the country.  Aromas of cherry and blackberry introduce full and silky flavors of ripe berries, dark chocolate, exotic spice and a touch of sweet oak on the finish.

Dry Creek Vineyard 2006 Heritage Zinfandel ($17)
Rued ZinfandelFor its bold and sophisticated flavors, this Zinfandel is a great buy.  Inky purple-red in color, this wine has concentrated flavors of blackberry and plum that mingle with dark chocolate, allspice and vanilla.  Firm and supple tannins create a balanced mouthfeel that culminates in a lingering and elegant finish.

Rued 2006 Zinfandel ($25)
This Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel comes from a small, family-owned winery in Sonoma County.  The wine has flavors of fresh baked blackberry pie, with hints of cocoa, licorice and spice.  It’s velvety in texture with well balanced tannins and acidity.  I’m also a big fan of their Russian River Valley Pinot Noir which costs $35 a bottle.

For more wines click on the name of the varietal or the price point you’re looking for in the tag cloud to the right.

Italian Wines You Should Be Drinking

When you think of Italian wines, what comes to mind?  I think of Chianti, Barolo, Pinot Grigio, Brunello, Prosecco and Super Tuscans.

How about Pecorino or Gaglioppo?  You may not have heard of these Italian grapes but you should be drinking them.

Wine has been made in Italy for more than 4,000 years.  Today Italy produces and consumes more wine than any other country; the variety of grape types and wine styles is staggering.  Some grape varieties are marketed better than others in the United States but now it’s time for these lesser-known grapes to get the publicity they deserve.

The name Pecorino may sound familiar because it is the name of an Italian cheese.  The Pecorino grape has no relation to the cheese.

pecorinoPecorino grapes are grown in Abruzzo, a region in east-central Italy on the Adriatic Sea.  Pecorino produces medium to full bodied white wines with moderate acidity and gentle minerality.  The wines have flavors of ripe green apple and pear.  Some have notes of almond and hazelnut or ground spices like white pepper and ginger.  This wine pairs nicely with shellfish, light pasta and poultry dishes and soft cheeses.  I recommend Colle dei Venti 2007 Terre di Chieti, which costs around $12.

Gaglioppo is a red wine grape grown in Calabria.  This region is the “toe” in Italy’s boot.  Gaglioppo produces a wine that is light cherry red in color with an elegant taste.  Ripe flavors of cherry, strawberry and raspberry are rounded out with licorice and a hint of spice.  Gentle tannins give the wine a nice structure.  Drink this with veal and grilled chicken, meat lasagna and tomato-based pasta dishes.  I recommend the 2007 Ceraudo Grayasusi, which costs around $22 or Ippolito 1845 “Liber Pater” 2006, which costs around $12.


liber paterPecorino and Gaglioppo may be harder to find than the more popular Italian varieties.  But try a bottle and you’ll wonder why they’ve been kept hidden for so long.

Beyond the Stigma of Screw Caps

I must admit, I am a little biased when it comes to screw caps on wine. The thought of them brings back unpleasant taste memories from college. However, now that screw caps are gaining popularity among skilled winemakers in places like Australia, New Zealand and here in the United States, I’m giving screw caps a second chance.

There are benefits to screw caps. They’re cheaper than cork and you don’t have to worry about them tainting the wine. On the other side they’re not as good for aging. And there is something to be said about the tradition of using cork to seal wine bottles.

I really enjoy the ritual of opening a bottle of wine – cutting the foil, twisting in the corkscrew, anticipating that first sip. The sound of metal cracking when you twist open a screw cap is nowhere near as satisfying as the pop when the cork comes out.

Last night one of my favorite local wine bars, Wine 69, hosted a tasting that featured screw cap wines from Finnegan’s Lake in California and Stringtown Wines in Oregon. The first was a 2006 Chardonnay from Finnegan’s Lake. It was light and fruity, good for drinking on a hot summer afternoon. It was aged in stainless steel barrels instead of oak; I did miss that oak taste that I like in other Chardonnays. Next came a 2007 Pinot Grigio from Stringtown Wines. If you’re into light wines with the taste of tropical fruit you might like it. It was too fruity and a bit watery for my taste. The 2006 Stringtown Pinot Noir was nice. It did have a lot of strawberry and other light fruit flavors but it wasn’t too overwhelming. The next wine was an interesting mix of six grapes. The 2006 Stringtown Cotes du Rogue had Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese and Grenache. It had a fairly big taste, but seemed to be lacking direction. The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon from Finnegan’s Lake was my favorite. It was well balanced and smooth, with very soft tannins. Price-wise it was the cheapest. Both Finnegan’s Lake wines were $22, the others ranged from $24.50 to $39.50.

Though I wasn’t too big on any of these wines, it wasn’t because they were sealed with screw caps. I may not always gravitate toward screw cap wines at the store, but in the future I’ll definitely give them another look.