Last year, I gave kudos to King Estate Pinot Gris, a favorite white for me and my husband. Although I still have plenty of love for this wine, this past weekend we found another Oregon white that is now top on my list. Hats off to the Elk Cove 2015 Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley!
It was a sweltering almost summer day in Mount Dora, a cute lakeside town not too far from Orlando, FL. We had a recommendation from a friend to have lunch at Pisces Rising, and we decided to brave the patio, which was nicely shaded and tempered by the natural air conditioning coming off the lake.
As we settled in and reviewed the wine list, we decided a crisp Pinot Gris sounded perfect. Although King Estate was not on the menu, Elk Cove was, which is another Oregon winery. We had visited Elk Cove several years ago and somehow I could only recall the reds, most likely because two of their Pinot Noir found their way to our cellar. So we opted to order a bottle to cool off and enjoy the lake breezes.
After the first sip, I was hooked. Not only was it beautifully aromatic, but it was like having a burst of summer on the palate. It was juicy with lots of tropical fruits, yet still dry and reflecting the acidity you would expect from a Pinot Gris. We paired it with a shrimp and arugula salad and blackened grouper, which enhanced the clean, cool, crispness of the wine.
So why does the Elk Cove beat the King Estate in my opinion? I personally prefer more pronounced fruit notes in my whites, particularly those in the tropical family. King Estate features more tart, green apple flavors and a higher acidity level. So if the tartness is more your thing, you may prefer the King Estate. But try the Elk Cove, particularly with lighter summer fare. You won’t be disappointed. I am already imagining prosciutto wrapped melon and maybe a little brie cheese! You can pick up both of these Pinot Gris at your local Total Wine for under $20.
Pinot Gris is a grayish/brownish pink colored grape (hence the name Gris, meaning gray in French), and it is one of the best-known mutations of the Pinot Noir grape. It loves cool weather, which lends to the zesty acidity of the wine, and it thrives in Oregon, where it is the state’s leading white wine, the Alsace region of France, as well as Veneto, Italy, where it is known as Pinot Grigio.