Archive for the ‘Pinot Gris’ Category

Little Penguin Pinot Grigio 2007 ~ 80 pts ~ $7.99

The-Little-Penguin-Pinot_B80DCC57Let me first set the stage for why I bought this wine. I decided that I would cook homemade chicken noodle soup (one of my specialties) for myself and some friends, and so would need a white wine to add to the soup and compliment the dinner. Why I decided to cook a hot soup in the middle of May can be only answered by the fact that I am an odd fellow. Picking the wine itself, I wanted something fruity and tangy to go with the chicken, so bypassed the chardonnays and Rieslings and went straight for the pinot grigio. If a cabernet sauvignon were a person, imagine a goth reading Dostoevsky in the corner of a café. Pinot Grigio, then, would most assuredly be the flighty blonde valley girl, jumping up and down showing off her bosom and assets in Abercrombie’s latest and squeaking her boyfriend’s name. It is light, crisp and sweet, which is a great compliment to poultry which responds well to sweet fruits such as apple, pear, and even banana.

Swilling the Little Penguin (*imagines a mini-penguin being twirled around a bowl of glass*), you smell citrus – pear and a bit of lemon. It is slightly strong on the alcohol, which explains why Wine Spectator said to drink it NOW. The taste is, in my opinion, fairly bland. It does have a sweet taste with pear, but that’s really about it. Very unexciting, and nothing original about it. As a cooking wine, it’s perfect because it adds some flavor, sugar, and acidity to the dish while bringing out the flavors of the chicken (in my case) and the spices. My guests did not drink the wine after all (Bud Light Lime was the popular drink of choice), and I drank the rest of the bottle while playing video games. For $8, not bad for a cheap buzz.

Aside from the cheap price, I also bought this wine because it has a bird on it. king-penguin-chickI was looking for a wine with a chicken on the label to go with the chicken I was cooking, but the penguin was the closest I could get. Ironically enough, some of the profits go to saving penguins in Australia: http://www.thelittlepenguin.com/penguinzone/thepenguinfoundation

So, if you like little tuxedo birds, or fluffy chicks (see right) and enjoy cheap fruity wine, go get a case! If not, save this wine for when you need to make a chicken stock.

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Concannon Pinot Gris 2007 ~ $21.99 ~ 88 pts

rootsrocksintrigueSo I may be lying about this wine’s price. I bought it maybe three weeks ago, and it has been long since gone from my fridge as I’m just now getting to write the review. I’m pretty sure, though, that the wine was approximately $20, which is possibly one of the more expensive wines I’ve bought so far.

Putting the cost in stow, this is an extraordinarily good wine. I really, really enjoyed it. The nose has a fresh rose bouquet, with some honeysuckle and light fruit. The rose is not overpowering or “grandmother-like,” comparable to moth-balled furniture and 5 yr old perfume. Rather, this is the smell of freshly cut and sheared roses, resting on the florist’s table about to be wrapped and dipped in fresh water. It has almost a fresh water spring finish to it. The taste is equally as good, crisp with rich pear and a hint of grapefruit. The finish is clean, and does not give an overly tart sensation on the tongue. The wine would go well with poultry, pasta, or fruit and cheese dishes.

Surprisingly, Concannon is a winery in California that hails from Ireland. The owner’s grandfather, John Concannon, came to America from Ireland in 1883 and started making wine in Livermore Valley. For me this is a surprise, thinking that most Irishmen are not expert surveyors of wine. Yet, the stereotype, however true or untrue, does not fit this very Irish family of winemakers in California. According to the winery’s website, the Concannon name is well-known as the winery created the Cabernet Sauvignon clones 7 and 8 which assisted in planting much of Napa’s vineyards.

I must admit this is the first time I’ve heard of grape varietal clones, so I’ve been doing some research. To put it simply, cloning is taking one piece of something and creating another thing identical to it using asexual means. For humans this is quite difficult, but for plants this is fairly commonplace. Just think about it, how many times have you taken a small branch from a tree in order to start your own plant at home? Wine makers do this process all the time, but for the single purpose of extracting particular qualities or attributes of the vine. For example, one vine may be resistant to drought. This may be very helpful for a winemaker when the rain seems sparse. Other minute qualities include time of budding, time of ripening, fruit yield and fruit quality. The possibilities are probably endless, but needless to say this technique is very useful in making wine, and the Concannon family was able to utilize it well. My next post will be about cloning as this subject has fascinated me…

Also, if you haven’t visited the Center for the Homeless’ Wine Cellar Auction, be sure to take a gander and see if donating a bottle to the cause of fighting homelessness is something you’re interested in!