The same grape variety (Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio) from three different producers in different parts of the world yield three very different style wines. They do have one thing in common – each is under $10!
- 2017 Kendall-Jackson Pinot Gris, California ($8.99 @Costco; California – Product #: 508182)
- 2016 A to Z Wineworks Pinot Gris, Oregon ($9.99@Costco; California – Product #: 248281)
- 2018 Kirkland Signature Pinot Grigio, Friuli Grave, Italy ($5.99 @Costco; California – Product #151401)
I started out intending to do a comparative review of two Pinot Gris from Costco, one a California Pinot Gris from wine-making behemoth Kendall-Jackson and the other from A to Z Wineworks of Oregon. The inspiration was to highlight how different two different wines – made from the same grape – could be so stylistically different.
Then, before I could finish the review, I came upon a bottle of Kirkland Signature Pinot Grigio from Italy and couldn’t resist adding it to the line up. That’s because Pinot Grigio – the grape – is just another name for Pinot Gris. And this Italian version is yet another style of wine.
Don’t be expecting me to declare a winner here (as we have so often done when featuring multiple wines) as all three are nice wines worthy of your wine wallet. (Heck, both the KJ and the A-Z were awarded 90 points by the Wine Enthusiast.) Rather, our goal is to describe how each is different, and let you decide which one might ring your wine chimes. Or, do as we did and buy all three and explore the differences. Said in a different tongue and since Pinot Gris originated in France: vive la différence!
If we were tasting these wines in a formal setting, where one starts with the lightest wines and moves to the heavier, more full-bodied ones, the KS Pinot Grigio would be presented first. It is by far the lightest of the three. Next would come the KJ Pinot Gris, which is medium bodied. Last would be the A-Z Pinot Gris, which could be confused for a Chardonnay (the irony that it is not the KJ isn’t lost on me) given its weight and mouthfeel.
But, as the saying goes, “it’s all good!”
To help you narrow the field, if you so desire, here are the tasting notes for each, in the order we propose tasting them:
- Kirkland Signature Pinot Grigio:
The source of some of Italy’s best and most distinctive white wines, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is where Italian, Germanic and Slavic cultures converge. The cool climate wine region of Friuli is bordered by the Alps in Northern Italy. Here it yields a wine with nice bracing acidity and clean flavors of citrus, green apple and pear. It finishes tart and with notes of slate and mineral. At just 12.5% alcohol, this is a wine to ride out late season heat waves like the one we are currently having in California.
- Kendall-Jackson Pinot Gris:
Stainless steel fermentation retains Pinot Gris’ vivid fruit qualities and bright, juicy texture, enhancing the pear, honeydew and tangerine flavors inherent to the grape. The wine is blended with a touch of the Rhône varietals such as Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, along with Muscat, Albariño and a dollop of other more floral varieties, which contribute layers of richness as well as a subtle floral notes. This is a smooth and medium-bodied wine.
- A to Z Wineworks Pinot Gris:
Stainless steel fermentation retains Pinot Gris’ vivid fruit qualities and bright, juicy texture, enhancing the pear, honeydew and tangerine flavors inherent to the grape. The 2016 A to Z Oregon Pinot Gris offers beautiful floral aromas reminiscent of jasmine, elderflower and white roses along with complex fruit notes of nectarine, melon, pear, yellow plums and yellow apples, lemon, lime, even grapefruit zest and a touch of guava. The wine is lush and layered on the palate structured with moderate acidity and alcohol.
If you’re thinking that this is not the first Oregon Pinot Gris we have reviewed, you would be correct. Learn more about the grape here:
Whether you select one or two that sound like a good match to your flavor preferences, or decide to do a three bottle comparison yourself, we are sure you will enjoy the process of exploration.