4 Wines & A Plate – Pinot Gris


We’ve only done one white wine night before, and it was one of the most polarized evenings we’ve had – albeit one of the more enlightening ones. This one proved to be educational as well, with a varied set of syles, and a varied set of opinions on the wines. Laughed a lot. Enjoyed the heck out of the dinner. And somehow pickled fish juice and polish vodka were being poured by the end of the evening. But that’s another story.


A – 2006 Zind Humbrecht Rangen de Thann Clos Saint-Urbain Grand Cru, Alsace, $90

Group Score: 85, 2nd place. Love-hate. 4 tasters scored it 92-93, 2 tasters scored it around 70. Wine Spectator says 94. It is STINKY. Cooked silkworm, intense honey, stinkweed, model airplane glue & melted plastic, horseradish, nettle. Creamy, intense, concentrated, complex, dynamic. Fascinating, albeit bizarre and stinky wine. I was in the camp that scored it 93.

B – 2007 Bollini Pinot Grigio, Italy $18
Group Score: 79.5, last place. Fresh and bright, but aromatically challenged showing light apple and underripe berries. ‘Eau de nothing’ perhaps sums it up best. The palate showed bright acidity with some citrus pith. Overall, this wine was ‘nice’ but seriously forgettable. I scored it a 82+.

C – NV Barefoot Pinot Grigio, California $9
Group Score: 88, 1st place. Fuzzy peach, apricot, fabricated spring odor, candy aisle, grapefruit, vanilla – fake and yummy [was described as the sexy chick with fake boobs]. The texture was really nice, supple & not too dry, slightly fizzy, and persistent. I scored it 91.

D – 2007 Poplar Grove Pinot Gris, Canada $31
Group Score: 81.5, 3rd place. Produce section, champagne yeast, ammoniated cheese, licorice, cabbage, munster cheese. The palate was interestingly full, developed on the palate, but tried hard and disappointed. I felt it tasted like average wine, mixed with some flat champagne. This broke my heart when it was revealed as I’d wanted to like this one.


I had a lot of options with the pairing, as pinot gris is a very versatile food wine. I trusted my ‘What to drink with what you eat” book – and chose a few of the supposedly optimal pairing items: pork, salad, and goat cheese. A couple elements were knocked out of the park imo. First, the salad dressing – white balsamic, extra virgin canola oil, and poupon mustard. It was slapped together fast, but blew me away. I think it was the fact that the white balsamic was sweet and balanced the acid and fat fantastically. I’d seriously use this as a go-to combo for dressing in the future. Second: the pork. Brined ham of Berkshire [garlic and sage in the brine], rotisseried over charcoal, basted with miced sage and oil. Holy smack it was good. I think that feeling was unanimous. I wish there were leftovers. But it was too good for that. As always, it was fun to check out the interaction between the different wines and the different elements of the dish.

the inevitable additional spontaneous dish that came out later
pork meatballs, sage, rosemary, garlic

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