To be blunt, I’ve never been a big Pinto Grigio fan. I know, it’s Italy’s most popular white and the U.S. drinks an ocean of it, but… to me, it seems like something you’d put in an Italian baby’s sippy cup. I generally find it watery and lackluster, without enough chutzpah to stand up to anything more than a quick, after-work Happy Hour.
So I was thrilled to taste Swanson’s 2010 Pinot Grigio – and ask for more. Poured by Mr. Swanson himself (I’m sure that helped), it’s lemony and citrusy with a weight and mouthful surprising (to me) for a Pinot Grigio. The debonair Mr. Swanson is proud to say this lushness comes not from oak (the wine only sees stainless steel), but from the quality of his Oakville grapes. (I’d say the addition of 10% chardonnay is also part of the success, but let’s not split hairs.) There’s enough acid to pair with lighter food, and the balance is good. If Pinot Grigio has let you down before, I’d give this California translation a swirl.
While we’re talking about Swanson, I was also intrigued by their flagship Merlot. As Chef Nancy said, “You don’t have to drink it, the gorgeous smell is enough!”
Don’t listen to Miles from the movie Sideways; there are tons of luscious California Merlots. The best of them can get pretty pricey. This one packs a juicy, black cherry punch at a fairly reasonable price.