If I had a nickel (ok a quarter with inflation) for every uninspired Pinot Grigio clogging up store shelves… well you get the idea, I’d have a lot of change. Much of that blasé Pinot Grigio is from Italy itself. When it comes to California, Pinot Grigio appears to be a growing segment. That’s mostly good, if there’s more of it, someone is going to take it seriously and craft it well. But by the same token there’s going to be a lot of subpar examples to wade through to get to the tasty ones. And the truth is there are even fewer examples that instill excitement in the value category. So when the Gnarly Head Pinot Grigio came across my desk I had countering thoughts; I was balancing the above concerns, if you will, that I have with a lot of Pinot Grigio against the fact that I’ve had some Gnarly Head wines that represented very solid values in the past. What’s one to do with a conundrum like that? Tasting the wine was the only way to go. The 2008 Gnarly Head Pinot Grigio is produced from fruit sourced throughout California; though two thirds is specifically from the Lodi region. This offering was fermented in stainless steel. Alcohol content for this Pinot Grigio is a modest 13%. The suggested retail price for this wine is $10.99.
Pineapple and hints of zesty lemon are part of the nose. A mélange of citrus emerges on the palate along with orchard fruits such as pear and apple. Citrus notes continue to dominate and lead to the finish which includes white pepper and ginger spice. This Pinot Grigio is clean, crisp and refreshing. It has excellent acidity and will pair well with lighter foods.
The bottom line for me on this Pinot Grigio is that it shows sufficient varietal character to make it interesting; it’s also tasty and refreshing. Add in the fact that it’s widely available for under $10 and I find this to be a good choice for large gatherings or everyday drinking.