A Wine Lover’s Near Weekly Guide To $15 Wines – A Pinot Grigio From Venice, Italy

I changed my mind. A few weeks ago I said I wouldn’t rush to buy this particular wine. But it’s a good companion to the companion wine, so why not? Cantina Gabriele is a family-run winery, started by the present owner’s great grandfather in the island of Pantelleria, closer to Tunisia than to Sicily. Pinot Grigio is popular the world over. It actually grows in all regions of Italy without starring in any. This wine is an IGT, Indicazione Geografica Tipica, said to typify its location. There are some wonderful Italian IGT wines, but not at this price. This wine is Kosher and Mevushal, which means flash pasteurized. The companion wine is a Kosher and Mevushal south Italian sweet Moscato with less than half the alcohol at about half the price.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Cantina Gabriele Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie IGT 2009 12 % alcohol about $14.

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. “Tasting Note: Another quality effort from Cantina Gabriele, this Pinot Grigio is pale lemon in color with aromas of fresh apple, white peach, citrus zest and a light honey note on the nose. It’s dry, light bodied and refreshing with apple and pear flavors leading to a medium-length finish. Terrific as a summer sipper or enjoy with grilled chicken breast, summer salads or light fish dishes. (VINTAGES panel, Feb. 2011). ” And now for my review.

I was unhappy when the cork started to crumble as I opened the bottle. At the first sips this wine was somewhat sour and musky. Japanese Wasabi crackers rounded the Pinot Grigio. The first meal was barbecued chicken with lots of paprika on the skin. The wine was metallic and tasted of burnt sugar but was not sweet. Its acidity was refreshing. Zesty guacamole weakened this wine. The fruit juice candy dessert made me taste something burnt in the liquid.

My next meal started out with puff pastry stuffed with potatoes (knishes). Now this PG was steely with a touch of sweetness and good acidity. Then came the main dish, brown lentils and brown basmati rice. Once again I tasted burnt, perhaps lightly burnt cork, along with pleasant acidity. A generous dose of Louisiana chile and lime softened the liquid; in fact it almost disappeared. Almond meringue cookies softened the liquid’s burnt taste and I noted some white peaches.

My final meal consisted of a boxed eggplant parmigiana. In response this Pinot Grigio was long and smoky, and slightly ethereal. I then paired it alongside a frozen high-quality French-style custard pie with a buttery crust and strawberries. Unexpectedly the wine became more forceful.

A very bland Havarti cheese with roasted garlic rendered this wine long and smoky. It had good acidity and a twist of white peaches. But when paired with a goat’s milk cheese containing figs the Pinot Grigio had less of everything. Final verdict. I won’t buy this wine again despite the occasional fine pairing.

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