Pinot Grigio is the most ubiquitous Italian white grape varietal on US shelves. Unfortunately many of the bottles clogging up the Pinot Grigio section are pretty sub standard. More than anything they’re often, bland and anonymous, barely recognizable as wine, let alone discernible for varietal character. The sad thing is when it’s grown right and produced properly Pinot Grigio can be an excellent and highly distinguished wine. On the occasions I’ve had the one from La Tunella in past vintages it has been an excellent representative, of the varietal, and Italian whites in general. So today I’ll look at the current vintage and see how it stacks up. The La Tunella 2009 Pinot Grigio was produced using fruit from the Colli Orientali Del Friuli region of Italy. This offering is 100% Pinot Grigio. Fermentation took place in temperature controlled stainless steel over 30 to 40 days. The wine was then aged sur-lie with bottling following in March of this year. 10,000 cases of this selection were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $21.
This 2009 Pinot Grigio has a striking, pale straw hue. Gentle hints of clove and nutmeg spice emerge from the nose along with a trio of fruit aromas; pineapple, papaya, and lemon. Throughout the palate, the citrus echoes with lemon crème standing at the forefront. Melon flavors join in along with continuing tropical undertones. Minerals, spice, citrus peel and a touch of sour fruit all play a role in the lovely and above average finish. The overriding impressions are of a fresh, clean, crisp wine with a solid level of gentle and nuanced complexity.
The Pinot Grigio from La Tunella has been a consistent winner vintage after vintage, the 2009 is no exception. If you want to know what Pinot Grigio really tastes like, this is as good a place as any to start. One note of caution though, don’t over-chill this wine. It needs a light chill to be sure, but much more masks its gorgeous, subtle layers.