Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pinot Grigio

August marks the start of harvest at Avio.  The first varietal that we bring in is Pinot Grigio.  We are the only winery in Amador County to produce an Estate Grown Pinot Grigio.  Our 3 acre plot is located behind the tasting room, and is named after Zio (Uncle) Paulino, who is subtle, easy-going and gets along with everyone.  You’ll find these same characteristics as you sip a refreshing glass of this tasting room favorite.

Wikipedia offers some insights into this wine:
Photo from Wikipedia
Pinot gris is a white wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. Thought to be a mutant clone of the Pinot noir grape, it normally has a grayish-blue fruit, accounting for its name ("gris" meaning "grey" in French) but the grape can have a brownish pink to black and even white appearance. The word "Pinot", which means "pinecone" in French, could have been given to it because the grapes grow in small pinecone-shaped clusters. The wines produced from this grape also vary in colour from a deep golden yellow to copper and even a light shade of pink,[1]and it is one of the more popular grapes for orange wine. The clone of Pinot gris grown in Italy is known as Pinot grigio.  Read more from Wikipedia

At Avio, we love the fresh, fruity flavors of this grape.  We also strive to give it a soft, glycerol feel in the mouth, which differentiates us from many P.G. producers.  P.G. is often put through a secondary fermentation process to achieve this softness.  We prefer to highlight the fruitiness of the grape, so we bring about the softness in a different manner.  Our Pinot Grigio goes from vine to tank in less than 1 hour!  We start at 5:30 a.m. while the temperatures are still cool in the vineyard.  Workers bring the cut fruit to the winery where we by-pass the crusher/de-stemmer step and do a whole-berry press.  This reduces harsh tannins that occur in the skins, and allows the full flavor of the fruit to come through.  It also naturally softens the wine without the need for secondary fermentation.  Our P.G. has a very large and loyal following, and this speedy harvest process is why.

Photo by T. Melohn
Another interesting differentiator at Avio, is that as part of our sustainable farming practices, we make use of the natural resources available to us on the property.  If you’ve spent any time here, you know that we have many animals that contribute to our farming processes.  In the case of P.G., we utilize the 100% certified organic eggs laid by our hens.  Small amounts of egg whites are used to “fine” or clarify the wine. Egg whites are a form of protein.  This protein attracts impurities, such as tannins, and binds to them.  These impurities then settle to the bottom of the tank where they can be filtered out.  The fining process does not affect the flavor or color of the wine. By the way, the most famous French Bordeaux have always been fined with egg white. That’s why there is a traditional pastry in Bordeaux, the cannelé, which is made with egg yolk – only.  I don’t have any data points on Italian recipes; but perhaps that is why gelato is popular!

No comments:

Post a Comment