Advent – Day 4

Wine: 2019 Pinot Grigio (Lodi, CA)
Winery: American Vintners
Cheese: Jarlsberg

Day 4’s wine from the Holiday Sweater Collection is Pinot Grigio. Often when I try a Pinot Grigio I think of my WSET Level 2 Instructor who gave some advice for doing a blind tasting: “If it looks like water, if it tastes like water, then it’s a Pinot Grigio.” Pinot Grigios tend to be pretty light affairs in the flavor department, and while there are some that are robust – For me, St. Julian’s Black Label Pinot Grigio comes to mind (and no I’m not biased 😉 ) they’re often more the exception than the rule.

The aroma of this Pinot Grigio gave me hope for an exception, with lemon, pear and strong floral notes that I noticed before I even put my nose over the glass. I didn’t notice the peach in the tasting notes, and normally I can pick up peach pretty well. But the nose was very good, and hinted at a clean, refreshing wine.

This Pinot Grigio’s promise for uniqueness didn’t quite live up in its tasting, however. Don’t get me wrong, this is a nice dry wine, with lively acidity and pleasant notes of lemongrass and a hint of grapefruit which made me think a little of a Sauvignon Blanc. But that was it for me. There was nothing else, I didn’t detect any of the orchard fruit and pear notes mentioned in the tasting notes. So that was a little disappointing. The soft finish was a decent length though, and the acidity and clean crispness made this Pinot Grigio at least fulfills its hints of being a clean refreshing wine. I paired it with Schwans Chicken Florentine’s Skillet Meal and the Jarlsberg featured in the photo. The wine’s acidity complemented the creamy, somewhat rich Chicken Florentine, as well as gave a little edge to the dish and the Jarlsberg. Pinot Grigios are usually very food friendly, especially the mild ones, so this PG is excellent in that regard. I give it a 3.5+ (A-) overall. I was hoping for a wine that proved the exception to my instructor’s rule, but it’s a perfectly fine wine to settle for.

Jarlsberg is a popular brand of cheese so I don’t really have the urge to go over it here. But it is nutty and a touch sweet, yet somehow it paired decently with the Pinot Grigio and I’m not sure how. Normally you’d want your wine sweeter than your meal, for the same reason you don’t want to eat dessert before dinner – sweet tastes leave a lingering impression on your palate that tends to distort other flavors. But the Jarlsberg is only a touch sweet, and now that I think about there was a tiny, tiny hint of sweetness in the Pinot Grigio. So, win-win.

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