The Wine Idiot Reviews: Grifone Pinot Grigio, 2015 ($4.99) +BONUS ROUND
Sometimes, you just drink a lot of wine. There are many reasons why this might happen--maybe you're at one of those dinner parties that just keeps going, maybe you had a really bad day and you just keep burning through whatever is in your cabinet. On this particular day, the occasion was my brother and his fiancé needed to do laundry. That's right. Patrick and Jon had to do laundry, I have a washer/dryer and also a grill so we decided to make steak for dinner, and we ended up killing three bottles of wine.
The real winner here was yours truly, as my contribution was a $4.99 bottle of Grifone Pinot Grigio and the boys brought over a couple of bottles from their various wine club shipments/tasting room excursions as well as filet mignon. Obviously, we opened the Pinot Grigio as a last resort--one of those moments where someone says "man I wish I had another glass of wine" and the host says "um well I did pick up a cheap bottle at Trader Joe's when I was getting cheese?" And this is universally accepted as a great idea.
If you've been around the blog for awhile, you know I'm a fan of the Grifone wines, especially the Primitivo. However, cheap pinot grigio tends to be...well...watery cheap white wine. Flavorless, and only mildly alcoholic. Though it once was, it is no longer my favorite white wine.
For $5, however, this was not bad. Probably the best pinot grigio I've had from Trader Joe's. It smells a lot like gas-station pinot grigio (DON'T JUDGE I'VE HAD SOME NIGHTS THAT I REFUSE TO REGRET SHOUT OUT TO NATASHA), but it actually tastes way better than it smells. There's a lot of pear up front, and overall it's definitely on the sweet side. Not a dessert wine, but definitely erring towards it. I wrote in my tasting notes: "It's inoffensive. I've had worse." We all agreed it would probably be delicious in sangria.
The one thing I would say about this wine is it needs to be COLD. We were a little impatient and cracked it before it was sufficiently chilled and it was a little...ick. But then we popped some ice in it and it was way better. It's just not one of those whites where you can taste its complexity when it's a little closer to room temp.
Now, if you're curious about the OTHER wines we had...I REALLY enjoyed drinking those. Not available at Trader Joe's as far as I know. But quite good.
We started with a Sunstone Chardonnay (2015); we all agreed that it smells like pear and apple, so much so that I was surprised when it actually tasted like chardonnay. I think I was expecting something more like pinot grigio because of the intense fruit scent, and while it was for sure fruit-forward, it still had that inexplicably chardonnay flavor. It had a very smooth finish and was even slightly mineral-y. Patrick thinks they told him at the tasting that it was barreled in fresh oak, which explains why it wasn't particulary buttery.
Then we moved on to the Brander Bouchet Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet Franc-Merlot (2013) blend. This was delicious and perfect with the steaks. It was smooth and jammy, but still complex with just a hint of spice. I could definitely wear a smoking jacket while drinking this red, which seems to be my metric for a meaty red.
It was after we finished up the good bottles that we moved on to the Grifone Pinot Grigio and that probably helped our review a little. But at $5? This ain't a bad deal.
What the bottle says: "This wine made with organically grown Pinot Grigio grapes has a fragrant nose of ripe yellow apple and spiced pear. The palate is rich and fruity with a smooth mouth-feel balanced by refreshing acidity. A beautifully made wine to be enjoyed chilled either on its own or with spicy salads and cold meats. This wine is especially suitable for pairing with vegetarian and vegan dishes."
What the Wine Idiot says: Like so many of these effusive labels on cheap wine...ehhhhh sure?? I guess. But let's be real--the only reason it's "especially suitable" for veggie dishes is because it's "organic" wine and they're being super-judgey about people to whom that is important. JUST BEING REAL.
Who's responsible for this? Bottled by Roccadoro, Pontedera - Italy, Imported by Latitude Wines, Inc. Danville, CA
Do I need a corkscrew? Yessir.
What do smarter people say about it? You guys, I Googled. Boy did I Google! Like to the fifth page of results!! But all I could find were links to reviews the Grifone Bianco. I must be on the cutting-edge of viticulture here. But there's not a lot being said about the Grifone Pinot Grigio.
Should I bring it to a friend's house? Eh. If your host is super picky about everything being organic, this is probably a good pick. But otherwise? I think you could find something better for around $5.