The Acrobat Pinot Gris 2011 from King Estate in Western Oregon hails Springtime and patios (even if the weatherman doesn’t), although the 2012 may be on shelves now. I see retailers offering both. My first experience with Acrobat Pinot Gris was the 2010 vintage which was impressive, particularly for the price range of about $12.00.
The 2011 nose is decidedly pear-laced with honeysuckle and hints of lime. On the palate (pulling this from my memory bank) the 2011 is a bit rounder, more viscous with distinct flavors of grapefruit and pear, and just as clean and alive on the finish as the 2010 – long and lingering for a Pinot Gris with a slight feel of spritz. By the time this King Estate Acrobat Pinot Gris has warmed-up a tad in the glass, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning bouquet that ‘presents’ to the very end. Screw cap, 12.5% alcohol, .7% residual sugar, fermentation 100% stainless steel.
There is abundant zest in the bottle, making this Pinot Gris food friendly and my only caution is to stay away from fruits and other high acid foods. Pair Pinot Gris with cheeses like Asiago, one of today’s trendy favorites, smoked cheddars and other full-flavored cheeses. Pastas in white sauces – cream or oil based with herbs, smoked fish, chicken, pork tenderloin – or carry your glass to the lanai with a side of almonds and cashews, and get your early summer on.
Pinot Gris is the same grape as the Pinot Grigio, Italy’s famous White wine grape, although terroir (where the grape is grown) can make a difference, along with the winemaker’s vision of his wine. Pinot Gris is predominantly produced in France, Germany, Oregon and California, but Alsace (France) is considered the classic home of the world’s finest Pinot Gris, known as Tokay d’Alsace or Tokay-Pinot Gris. Alsatian Pinot Gris can be late-harvested (sweeter) but is generally quite dry. In Germany, Pinot Gris is known as Grauburgunder. “Grau” means “grey” and the grape clone is believed to have originated in France’s Burgundy region.
The grape is classified in the same family as Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. Gris means “grey” in French, and because the grape skin ranges from white to golden yellow to copperish-brown, bluish-grey to pink, depending how long the vintner leaves the pressed juice on the skins, the result can yield pink and even orange wines.
If the 2011 Acrobat Pinot Gris is not available in your area, a quick online search will provide tasting notes, and you can visit King Estate’s technical notes here.
Pronunciation Tips (no accent marks, say it as you see it):
Alsace: Al-zass (Al as in the man’s name Al) (zass rhymes with sass)
Grauburgunder: Grau-burr-gun-der (Grau rhymes with Frau or has the sound of now)
Pinot Grigio: Pee-no Greege-O (Greeqe has the sound of squeeze without the q)
Pinot Gris: Pee-no Gree
Terroir: Tare-wawh (Tare rhymes with fare) (wawh rhymes with saw)
Tokay d’Alsace: Tow-kay d’Al zass (Tow as in toe) (d’Al is similar to dall with a slight emphasis on the d)
Tokay-Pinot Gris: Tow-kay Pee-no Gree (Tow as in toe)
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