Pinot Grigio can be extremely polarizing. While popular with some drinkers, it is anything but with others. Those who don’t enjoy Pinot Grigio usually throw barbs at the wine that include calling it “simple,” “basic,” and “plain.”
And the truth is, a lot of Pinot Grigio can be that way – just a sharp refreshing lemony wine with not much else going on. Most of these wines receive their flat, boring persona from mass production, and the idea that this lack of anything really special, simply something cold that goes down easy, is what consumers want. But don’t let these bad wines ruin Pinot Grigio, there are really interesting, thought provoking Pinot Grigios out there, and we just drank one of them.
MacMurray Estate Vineyards Pinot Gris – preferring to use the name of the grape as it is known in Alsace, France, as opposed to it’s Italian form Pinot Grigio, though they are in fact the exact same thing – tasted unique from the moment we encountered it.
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At first taste, had we not already seen the bottle, we might have thought the wine was not Pinot Grigio at all, but Sauvignon Blanc. There was a light, grassy aroma with hints of saline and citrus on the nose. Yes these aromas can be present in Pinot Gris/Grigio sometimes too, but not often. This already was an indication the wine would be interesting and potentially special.
On taking a sip, the wine immediately delivered the bright and light acidity one comes to expect from Pinot Grigio, but there was much more. In addition to the notes of pears and figs there was an herbal flavor – perhaps responsible for those grassy aromas we smelled before tasting. It was a mouthwatering wine that was anything but simple.
MacMurray Pinot Gris is a wine both for Pinot Grigio lovers and ones who think the wine is too simplistic — one sip and they’ll realize it is anything but. It’s proof there is really great affordable Pinot Grigio out there.
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MacMurray Estate Vineyards 2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Gris was provided to VinePair as a sample.