March 17, 2007

2005 Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon

We've had some pretty amazing weather here the last week or so. Spring and summer are definitely feeling close. We had a couple days that made it into the mid-60's, which after the last couple of months felt like being on the beach in Mexico. Gorgeous. Naturally, this made us crave some of our favorite warm weather wines, and to celebrate the imminent changing of the seasons we have begun chilling some killer whites to be tasted over the coming weeks.

We have reviewed a couple Pinot Gris wines already, both of which were also from Oregon. We find this varietal to be a perfect summer wine and a great apertif before dinner. Though there are terrific Pinot Gris wines coming from Alsace, for some reason we keep gravitating to those from the United States' own private France... Oregon.

Ponzi is a big name in Oregon wine. This is not only because of the obvious Italian heritage, thus adding bolster to my ongoing hypothesis about Italians making terrific New World wine, but because of their unwavering focus on craft, technique and excellence. Dick Ponzi founded the winery in 1970 and set about building a solid, family driven winery with a culture of land stewardship in the Willamette Valley. Forty years later and the winery is still family run, now by the second generation of Ponzi's with Luisa Ponzi, Dick's daughter, now the winemaker since 1993. Luisa brings a Burgundian focus to the winemaking style, and adds her leadership in Oregon's sustainable viticulture program. The Oregon wine report has named Luisa as "one of the most formidable winemakers in the country." Formidable. I am seeing a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir tasting death match in our future.

Ponzi is known for great Pinot Gris, and this bottle is no exception. The fruit is from four different vineyards, with 30% of the grapes from the Aurora vineyard which is now certified organic. We poured to taste and found the nose full of crisp apple, a little pear and citrus. There is also an alluring spiciness to the nose, like allspice or nutmeg. Not sure. The palate is round and full, but still crisp. More apple, but with apricots and a nice, clean sharpness. Great palate cleanser. There is some grapefruit towards the finish, which is dry and elegant. This is good wine. It has nice structure and acidity and while it is great to enjoy by itself as a sipping wine I could also see enjoying this wine over a lighter dinner... like a big summer salad with lots of fresh vegetables and a nice piece of tuna. I can't wait to enjoy this wine at the end of the day on the patio when the sun is out past 7PM.

cost - $16.99

winecommando rating (1-10) - 9

available online at wineaccess


Suzanne said...

I agree with your take on this Pinot Gris. It's one of my favorite white wines and a fantastic value, in my opinion. Great blog, by the way!

sanspotash said...

Hi Suzanne,

Yeah, sometimes we feel like Pinot Gris is a best kept secret... sort of overshadowed by Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Whenever we introduce it to people they become immediately converted.

Glad you like winecommando and thanks very much for checking us out and letting us know... much appreciated.