It's only a few years since Pinot Grigio started its meteoric rise to become the de facto pub white wine of choice for so many people. And it's not difficult to see why - its most instantly noticeable characteristic is a zippy, refreshing acidity which makes it suitable as a stand-alone drink, an aperitif or an accompaniment to well-seasoned food as well as picnics and barbecues.
It is the great all-rounder achieving (when well-made) a good balance between up-front fruit, acidity and a mouthfilling mineral backbone, all without the need for any expensive oak.
The spiritual home of Pinot Grigio is northern Italy where, at altitude, it is made into something steely, mineral and sometimes quite neutral - by contrast, as Pinot Gris further north in Alsace, it ripens into something much fuller, richer and more perfumed.
This crowd-pleasing example from winemaker Sally Whittaker is from New South Wales and, despite its New World origins, is only 12% alcohol, putting it at the riper end of the refreshing Italian style.
It has a minerally nose, nicely balanced ripe fruit and a mineral backbone on the palate with a good clean structure and a refreshing, but soft finish.
We had this with a starter of simple anti-pasti of mozzarella, tomatoes, olive oil and chopped parsley with some garlic crostini, followed by a main of chicken in a creamy tarragon sauce.
The wine went perfectly with both courses, having the acidity to cut through the cheese, oil and cream, the body to stand up to the weight of the food and being aromatic enough to match with the parsley and tarragon.
It has two medals - both from Australia:
- Rutherglen Wine Show 2009, Australia
- Cowra Wine Show 2010, Australia
Laithwaites - http://www.laithwaites.co.uk/