My usual tasting featured nothing but Pinot Grigio (or Pinot Gris) and Pinot Blanc (or Pinot Bianco). Two different kinds of grapes, pretty similar as far as I'm concerned. I damned near skipped it. In fact, I didn't show up until halfway through the scheduled time. Even though I don't particularly like this grape, I finally decided to go and see if something surprised me. And while I had fun at the tasting (seeing the gang, trying to guess regions), I experienced my standard Pinot Grigio disappointment: there's just not much flavor. Given that, if you're a fan of this grape these reviews will be completely useless for you.
Wine 1: 2003 Nobilo Icon Pinot Gris. Marlborough, New Zealand. Sweet and acidic, a bit surprising, but not enjoyable. $19.
Wine 2: 2002 Firesteed Pinot Gris. Oregon. A lot of people liked this one--it's dry and slightly musky, but I didn't find it memorable. Good bargain, though. $10.
Wine 3: 2004 Adelsheim Pinot Blanc. Oregon. Dry and lemony, very short finish. Probably a good solid Pinot Blanc, but this grape just doesn't click with me. $18.
Wine 4: 2004 Luna Pinot Grigio. Napa, California. Lovely label. I found it dusty, but with a more concentrated flavor than some of the other wines. $20.
Wine 5: 2002 Trimbach Pinot Blanc. Alsace, France. Tasted like a watered down Chardonnay with a squirt of lemon juice. $14.
Wine 6: 2003 Chateau Ste. Michelle Pinot Gris. Yakima Valley, Washington. Really harsh flavors, it almost tasted like it had been oaked, but it's all stainless steel fermentation. $14.
Wine 7: 2003 Tiefenbrunner Pinot Bianco. Delle-Venezie, Italy. From the upper northeast where things start to turn German. This wine tasted like watery ash. Blech. $17.
Wine 8: 2002 Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve. Alsace, France. Another one from Trimbach, and this is one that nearly every person had a bad reaction to. There was a really horrible smell coming from the wine--I think it was brettanomyces, but no one present was familiar enough with the scent to back me up. Other people smelled ammonia, and one guy described it as "a high school science experiment gone horribly wrong". All of that aside, it didn't taste too bad. $20.
Wine 9: 2003 Bollini Pinot Grigio. Trentino, Italy. Soft and rounded, with some decent fruit, but lacks punch. $13.
Wine 10: 2004 Benton Lane Pinot Gris. Willamette Valley, Oregon. Sweet, but not overpowering. This is one that I'd actually like to drink with a good seafood meal. $15.
Wine 11: 2004 Au Bon Climat Pinot Gris/Binot Blanc. Santa Barbera, California. I enjoyed this one. Hints of raw sugar and caramel on top, but it's not sweet. Good round flavor. Definitely my favorite of the bunch. $20.
Wine 12: 2004 Geretto Pinot Grigio. Delle Venezie, Italy. Sweet and musty, almost like a Riesling. Not bad, definitely unusual and a decent price. $12.
Wine 13: 2003 King Estate Pinot Gris. Willamette Valley, Oregon. Aromas and flavors of apple and pear, but way too watery. $16.