Christie Kiley on May 18, 2015 0 Comments This week, we are going to talk about one of the most understated wine varietals, Pinot Gris. Many of us might have had an introduction to the stuff when we were first getting into wines, when fruity, light and slightly chilled were the only wines our palates could understand. Then our palates developed–became educated, in a way–and it was bye-bye Pinot Gris (aka Pinot Grigio) and off to Pinot Noir (its twin brother), Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay. Now it is time to give Pinot Gris/Grigio a little more worthy press. It is spring after all, and all of you wine lovers cannot be stuck with Sauvignon Blanc and Rose all summer long. Variety is the spice of life and I am here to offer you a little more. How about delving back into Pinot Grigio with a good pick: Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio Porer 2013. Before I talk about the wine, I want to take some time and tell you about its origin and the maker who has crafted this lovely white wine. About Italian Pinot Grigio/Gris… Pinot Gris happens to be a mutant clone of Pinot Noir. Now just because it is a ‘mutant’ does not mean it deserves less attention. Some wines do not deserve such neglect. ‘Gris’ comes from ‘gray’ in French, as the grapes tend to take on a brownish pink with a bit of an ashy appearance. Pinot Grigio is a clone of Pinot Gris and is found in Italy, mainly in the northern part of the country. It is grown in the regions of Lombardy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and in Alto Adige. The region of Alto Adige, officially called Trentino-Alto Adige is located in the very northern part of Italy and shares a border with Austria. This is a very mountainous region where many of the vineyards can be found in along the slopes or cooler valleys. Both the northern location and high altitudes make a climate suitable for grapes which tend to showcase better in cold climates, such as Pinot Grigio. These grapes do not need a necessarily extensive growing or ripening period, so the shorter summers of northern Italy are ideal. In addition, the cooler summers are ideal to keep the grapes growth towards maturity in balance. Flavors and aromatics can develop along with keeping a balanced ratio of sugar to acidity. This creates more aromatic wines with a balanced palate in all spectrums: from perfume and bouquet to taste, body, texture and finish. The Winery of Alois Lageder… Alois Lageder began in 1823 and has long since been established as a quality winery of the Alto Adige region. It has been in the family for five generations and today is run by Alois Lageder. He believes that good wine begins with the harmonization of nature, culture, tradition and care. The original family founder was Johann Lageder who laid the foundation of their winemaking techniques that are still in practice today. The vines are biodynamically farmed, as they have been since the beginning. Their vineyards have been certified by the Demeter Association, an official body which regulates the approval and sees that standards are upheld for a biodynamic certification. Thanks to the terrain of the region, there is a wide variety of terroir which is expressed in many of their wines. Terroir is not simply about soil-types, but is all inclusive along with climate, sun exposure, wind exposure and temperature ranges. For Alois Lageder, it is important to consider all of these factors when creating wine with product from Mother Nature. Each wine is a homage to its individual terroir. The wines of Alois Lageder are divided into three labels; the Farms, Terroir Selections and Classic Varietals. All the vineyards undergo careful evaluation before harvest is decided so that all the fruit is perfectly mature and ready to make a perfect wine. Such care is continued into the winery as well and each of their wines are made via the action of gravity. The winery is a carefully designed biological building standing 17 meters high so that no pumps are needed and delicate craftsmanship can take place from beginning to end. Our Wine This Week… This Pinot Grigio comes from their Terroir Selections label. The grapes originate from slopes of 230 to 240 meters above sea level (750 – 790 feet) in stony and sandy soils with a high amount of limestone. The climate is fairly warm for this region overall. The grapes were brought to the winery, crushed lightly and pressed. Natural, wild fermentation was allowed to take place where later 80% of the batch was placed in stainless steel and the remainder in wooden casks where they aged for about five months on the lees. This is not an average Pinot Grigio which may withstand only one or two years in bottle. This one will benefit with aging for up to six years. The aromas are slightly oak-induced with warm spices that favor the orchard fruits. Although this wine is medium-bodied, its mouthfeel is more full-bodied than what you might expect, while it is creamy, late summer fruits like apples and pears remain fresh. The finish is perfectly fresh and the aromas linger for quite a while. Pair this with lobster, salmon, duck or any poultry or pork tenderloin. Serve between 50 and 53 degrees F (10 -12 C).