Serious Grape: Pinot Grigio, the Farmers' Market Friend

On Fridays, Deb Harkness of Good Wine Under $20 drops by with Serious Grape.

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[Flickr: NatalieMaynor]

The farmers' market can be one of the most inspirational places for a foodie. At my local Los Angeles market right now the stalls are full of tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, mushrooms, peaches, baby lettuce, and other treasures. We are still wolfing down vegetable-based pasta sauces, heirloom tomato salads with basil and sweet onions, and gorgeous green salads.

If you are taking full advantage of the harvest, pick up a bottle of Pinot Grigio on your way home from the farmers' market. Pinot Grigio is a grape that pairs wonderfully with most vegetables because of its fresh flavors and abundant acidity. The grape also adapts well to different wine-making styles, which can vary widely depending on regional preferences. So while some wines made with Pinot Grigio will be fresh and citrusy, others will be rounder and taste more like melons and apples. My Pinot Grigio recommendations, after the jump.

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[Flickr: Bookis]

2008 Maso Canali Pinot Grigio: (Italy, Trentino) This is an outstanding, complex Italian bottling. Faint aromas of lemon peel and apple lead to its surprisingly heavy texture. There are flavors of apple and lemon, followed by richer tastes of orchard fruits such as peach and nectarine. The aftertaste is almondy but still crisp and juicy. This wine will convince Pinot Grigio skeptics that the grape is worth a second chance. ($23; find this wine)

2008 Castello di Gabbiano Pinot Grigio: (Italy, Venezie IGT): This extremely good value Pinot Grigio has characteristics of bitter lemon pith with almond aromas and flavors. With such a nicely balanced acidity, it makes the perfect partner for fresh tomatoes--and it's amazingly good for the price. ($10; find this wine)

2008 Tenuta Ca' Bolani Friuli Pinot Grigio: (Italy, Friuli Aquileia) Recognizably Italian in style, this wine had light, lemon pith aromas that led into a surprisingly full-bodied wine with Meyer lemon and melon flavors. Crisp without being harsh, it has an appealingly creamy texture and nicely balanced acidity. ($17; find this wine)

2008 Lucien Albrecht Pinot Gris Cuvée Romanus: (France, Alsace AOC) A terrific wine, this had apple, melon, and herbal aromas. The flavors were fresh, round, and soft with peach, pear, and apple notes. ($20; find this wine)

2008 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Gris: (California, Sonoma Coast) Distinctive pineapple and apple aromas and flavors are followed by an interesting lemon curd aftertaste. The wine's crispness is very appealing and will work well with food. ($20; find this wine)

2008 Estancia Pinot Grigio: (California) A rich Californian example of the grape, with lemon oil and lemongrasss aromas and flavors. Expect a slightly bitter note in the aftertaste of this surprisingly complex Pinot Grigio. ($15; find this wine)

2008 Robert Oatley Pinot Grigio: (South Australia) This Pinot Grigio might be mistaken for a Gewurztraminer with its allspice, nutmeg, and pepper aromas. The flavors are more typical of the grape, however, with zesty citrus and apple notes and a fresh, spicy aftertaste. ($18; find this wine)

Full Disclosure: I received these wines as samples.

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