Pinot Grigio often gets a bad rap, and for the most part, it’s deserved. Due to its popularity in the world of white wine, much of what’s available to most people at an accessible price is mass- produced, full of sugar, and pretty terrible. And that sucks, because there are definitely great, small- production, boutique producers out there making Pinot Grigio that is so good that it’ll make you take back every bad thing you have ever said about it; but that Pinot Grigio is tough to find, and therefore hard for me to recommend in this column — it is called “Good Wine You Can Actually Find,” after all.
But just because something is “mass-produced” or widely distributed doesn’t necessarily mean it’s terrible. Making wine on a large scale does not have to always equal a lowering of quality, especially if the person making the wine is conscious of the challenges of mass production during the entire process. Charles Smith is one such winemaker, and his Vino Pinot Grigio is a great example.
Smith is a former rock band manager who left the music business to make wine, and it turns out he’s pretty good at it. In much the same way as it takes skill for a music producer to help create a massively successful pop song that is catchy without being cheesy, Smith crafts wines that are accessible and delicious without tasting bland or shallow.
His Vino Pinot Grigio is a wine to be popped and poured, with its juicy and fresh flavors showcasing how good Pinot Grigio can be when made in a cool climate like Washington State’s. There’s everything you could want in this bottle, the wine bursting with flavors of green apple and citrus. It’s that wine that is so refreshing, you don’t realize how much you’ve drunk until you’re at the end of the bottle, which is always a great feeling, and also a sad one. At least this wine is affordable, and at $15 a bottle, you can pop a second without feeling too guilty.