Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Best of BC: Pinot Blanc/Gris

Pinot Blanc could be the signature white varietal of BC if it was better known. Sadly, plantings have been reduced over the past 5 years with many producers focusing more attention on its mutant, genetic cousin, Pinot Gris.

$20 and below:

Fort Berens Estate Winery 2010 Pinot Gris - $18
Despite the winery's Lillooet address this wine is all Okanagan. Produced from West Kelowna grown fruit and fermented in stainless steel tanks, this Pinot Gris is fruit forward and terroir driven with excellent austere characters to balance the orchard fruit and lemon zest notes. Where to buy: Direct from winery.
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Stoneboat Vineyards 2010 Pinot Gris - $18
Wisely, winemaker Jay Martinuik has kept the alcohol level down (12.9%) leaving a touch of residual sugar to balance the abundant acid typical of the 2010 vintage. Where to buy: Direct from winery.
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Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2012 Pinot Gris - $19
Lush and juicy on the nose with ripe pear, apple and tangerine aromas and a hint of tropical fruit notes in the background. Light mineral and green apple notes also help contrast the rich fruit making for a refreshing and compelling Summer sipper.
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Cassini Cellars 2011 Mamma Mia Pinot Gris - $19
A fun, off-dry Pinot Gris with loads of apricot, apple and passionfruit flavours which is hard to miss on the shelves with its bold "Mamma Mia" branding and will pair nicely with your late summer BBQ fair or an early fall, spicy-Thai dinner.
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Young and Wyse Collection 2011 Pinot Gris - $20
Cool, crisp and masculine with lively stonefruit, lemon/lime, pink grapefruit and peach skin characters and a nice mineral backbone highlighted by a steely finish and a touch of lingering spice.
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Upper Bench Estate Winery 2011 Pinot Gris - $20
A taut, tart, tasty Pinot Gris produced in the Grigio style with no oak contact, no residual sugar and loads of fresh acidity. Definitely a Pinot Gris that offers a nice contrast to the oaked, full-bodied and nearly off-dry versions that have been popular in BC for years.
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Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2010 Pinot Gris - $20
Intense on the sublime nose with rich orchard fruit, cantaloupe and floral aromas followed by a slightly off-dry palate bursting with lemon, grapefruit, pear, hay and honey flavours. Where to buy: Direct from winery.
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$30 and below:

Haywire Winery 2011 Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris - $23
A complete and compelling texture and mouth feel - especially during a cool, acidic year like 2011. Add to the mix the classic BC Pinot Gris citrus, white peach and mineral flavours with the acid and lees character of a still Champagne and you have yourself a tasty treat.
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JoieFarm 2011 Pinot Blanc - $23
Sourced from established Kelowna and Naramata Bench vineyards, the fruit for this Pinot Blanc received a Chardonnay-like treatment of barrel fermentation resulting in a wine of equal complexity and intrigue.
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