Pinot Grigio, most of it anyway, is barely wine. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but most of the stuff you see on store shelves and on restaurant wine lists is rather insipid. I’d call it more of an easy-drinking inebriant than wine.
On the other hand, maybe it’s better than all of the barrel-bludgeoned chardonnay you’ll find at most bars and restaurants.
That isn’t the point here, though. The point is that most Pinot Grigio is boring and not something that I have use for in my day-to-day drinking rotation.
That is what made this week’s “Wine of the Week” Martha Clara Vineyards 2015 Pinot Grigio such a surprise — even a revelation — during a recent tasting. It’s far from boring.
To create this wine, which is peachy and tropical with a beautiful, succulent texture that is focused by clean, bright acidity, winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez broke his 2015 Pinot Grigio harvest up into three lots.
The first portion was machine picked, destemmed and went to direct press, just in the way most Pinot Grigio is made. A second portion was machine picked, destemmed to one-ton bins, and soaked overnight before being pressed, this soaking pulls a bit more color from the skins, which is why the final wine doesn’t look like most Pinot Grigio either. A third portion was hand picked and whole cluster pressed.
All three lots of juice were combined, fermented and allowed to age sur lie — which means on the yeast — in a stainless steel tank for three months.
The result is a unique and distinctive expression of local Pinot Grigio. More importantly, it’s just plain delicious. And it’s available in the Martha Clara tasting room for $22.