Is there anything more delicious than a glass of crisp dry white wine on a warm summer evening? I love reds too, but when the temperature climbs, I always switch to whites.
Lately I have been hooked on Pinot Gris, it is definitely one of my favorite dry white wine types, and I decided to do a taste test of six Oregon Pinot Gris for under $15. I am by no means a wine expert (although I am proud to say that I have a diploma in mixology from Harvard, never mind that they spelled my first name wrong and that it has my maiden name, so by now, nobody would know that it’s me), just an avid, enthusiastic consumer who wants to share her finds.
Here they are, in alphabetical order:
A-Z 2008 – $13.99
This has been my go-to white for the past year. Pale yellow in color and fresh, crisp and flavorful, it has been a hit with all my friends too. It’s a great pratvin (“talk wine”) as we say in Swedish – a wine that doesn’t need food but works great for just hanging out and chatting with friends. Another plus is the screw top. I know some people still consider that inferior to “cork corks” but I love them, it makes everything so much easier.
Acrobat 2008 and 2009 – $11.99
My second favorite. This discreet and elegant wine is a very pretty pale yellow, with a slight hint of honey “on the nose” as they say. It is crisp and a little bit lighter and more acidic than the A-Z, perfect for really hot days. The flavors really come out when it has had a chance to warm up a little bit, so if you can control yourself, let it sit for a few minutes when you take it out of the fridge. Also a great pratvin. The 2008 has a cork cork and the 2009 screw top.
Cooper Hill 2009 – $9.99
I rarely buy wines under $10. Call me a snob, but I just don’t expect great things from cheap wine. In this particular case, I should have stuck to that conviction. It started out well enough – the wine looked pretty and pale in the glass, with a scent hinting of melon. The first sip brought adjectives like “watery” and “sour” to mind, but I decided to give it a chance and let it sit for a few hours to see what would happen. When I tried it again, I got a clearer idea of what that flavor was – cat pee. Not a keeper.
Erath 2008 – $13.99
Loved the bottle right off the bat – tall, skinny and elegant with a pretty label and a screw top. Very pale in the glass, almost white. This one also benefits from sitting for a few minutes to warm up a bit and let the flavors come to life. It is fruity and crisp with a good dose of acidity (not bad, just more acidic than the others). It comes in as number 4 on my list of favorites. Can work as a pratvin, but I like this one better with food.
Montinore Estate 2008 – $13.99
I had great hopes for this one as I poured it in the glass – it had a yummy-looking pale golden color and a crisp refreshing smell with a hint of sweetness. Sadly, I was disappointed when I went to taste it. It was surprisingly watery, and a bit sour. Again, I let it breathe for a while and tried it again, and this time I liked it even less. Pass.
Ponzi Vineyards 2008 – $14.99
Favorite #3, from Willamette Valley. You feel refreshed just looking at it in the glass. It is a nice pale yellow with a faint smell of stone fruits. The flavor was somewhat neutral, but delicious and refreshing, and almost a little bit spritzy. A classic Oregon Pinot Gris.
So I found 4 really good wines out of 6 – not bad. But the search goes on! If you have a favorite summer wine, I’d love to hear about it. I’m always looking for great new wines to try.
Prefer beer? Check out my Summer Beer post.
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