Pinot gris/grigio recommendations

If there were a Cliché Dictionary, it would have a photo of pinot gris/grigio next to “you get what you pay for.”

It is exceedingly difficult to find really good inexpensive renditions of this increasingly popular grape. In compiling this recommendations roundup, I probably lowered the bar a bit to ensure that the $10-and-under category was decently represented.

Now those cheap guys are tasty wines well worth their price, but you really start “drinking up” when you move to the $15-and-under listings, and even more so in the next group, etc.

The problem is … well, us. As certain varietals gained favor, we wine consumers have been willing to settle for mediocre versions. Remember all that cheap merlot? Or the shiraz? Try as I might not to, so do I.

The paragon of pinot grigio/gris in this regard is actually a higher-priced wine, Santa Margherita. To paraphrase a certain politician, it’s likeable enough, but overpriced at $22 and still not a good value on sale at $15-$18. But people try it, find it agreeable, set the bar low and then find a similar innocuous wine for half the price and think they’re getting a steal.

That’s my theory and of course I’m sticking with it. For my part, the below wines offer up good to exceptional value for the price:

$10 and under
Cupcake Trentino Pinot Grigio
Della Scala• Della Scala Pinot Grigio
• Due Mari Venezie Pinot Grigio
• La Fiera delle Venezie Pinot Grigio
• McManis California Pinot Grigio
• Roccadora Friuli-Venezie Pinot Grigio
• Simply Naked Unoaked Pinot Grigio

$15 and under
• Dusted Valley “Boomtown” Pinot Gris
Left Coast• Estancia California Pinot Grigio
• Marco Felluga Collio Pinot Grigio
• Left Coast “The Orchards” Willamette Pinot Gris
• Mercer Yakima Valley Pinot Gris
• Pepi California Pinot Grigio
• Charles Smith “Vino” Pinot Grigio
• Willow Creek Yakima Valley

$20 and under
• Anne Amie Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
• Benton Lane Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
Hugel• Bethel Heights Oregon Pinot Gris
• Canoe Ridge Horse Heaven Hills Pini\ot Gris
• Eyrie Dundee Hills Pinot Gris
• Hugel “Classic” Alsace Pinot Gris
• King Estate Oregon Pinot Gris
• La Crema Monterey Pinot Gris
• Maso Canali Trentino Pinot Grigio
• Raptor Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
• Domaine Schlumberger “Les Princes Abbes” Pinot Gris

$25 and under
• Breggo Anderson Valley Pinot Gris
Etude• Etude Carneros Pinot Gris
• Livio Felluga Collio Pinot Grigio
• Meyer-Fonné Alsace Reserve Pinot Gris
• Venica Jesera Collio Pinot Grigio

$30 and under
Jermann Venezi-Giulia Pinot Grigio
• Matello Bishop’s Creek Clover Pinot Gris
• Robert Sinskey Carneros Pinot Gris
• Zind-Humbrecht Alsace Pinot Gris

$35 and under
Meyer-Fonné Kaefferkopf Grand Cru Pinot Gris
• Wind Gap Windsor Oaks Vineyard Pinot Gris


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