Tag Archives: Pinot Gris

Patio Party Pleasers!

This time of year as I walk my favorite wine seekers around the department showing them the newest and latest in the wine world, I start to get the sideways look and comment, “Maybe some whites?”  Everyone is more than ready for the weather to break, roll out the patio furniture, sit back and enjoy the summer with their favorite cooling and refreshing white wines. Here are some of my favorites!

New Age White Blend, Mendoza, Argentina $8.99 –

A definite summer favorite, the New Age is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat.  The Muscat gives the wine a touch of sweetness while the Sauvignon Blanc keeps it bright and refreshing.  The wine maker for New Age recommends serving the wine with a splash of lemon, lime, and club soda for a refreshing spritzer!

Mezza Corona Pinot Grigio 2009, Vignetti Delle Dolomiti, Italy $8.99 –

This is one of my “go to” Pinot Grigios.  On the nose: kiwi, lime, and green apple that all follows through on the palate. A cleansing finish lends itself to summer picnic salads like our new Creamy Gemelli Pasta Salad.

St. Kilda Chardonnay South Eastern, Australia $9.99 –

Last year Wine Spectator gave St. Kilda Best Value for its 2009 Chardonnay and I couldn’t agree more.  On the fruity side of Chardonnay, this Aussie is ripe with peach, apple, melon, a great pairing for fried chicken.

Three Pears Pinot Gris 2010, California $10.99 –

The folks at Mason Cellars brought us Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc, and on the coattails of that success have ventured out to make a new Pinot Gris called Three Pears.  Now if you have never had Pinot Gris, this is a very nice one, but not necessarily classic.  Many Pinot Gris do have Pear nuances, but this takes it to a new level. Bartlett Pears jump from the glass while on the palate; there is a juicy quality with nice minerality.

Elizabeth Spencer Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Mendicino California $17.99 –

I have been blown away by the layering, complexity, and affordability of the Elizabeth Spencer Wines.  I have tasted the Cabernet Sauvignon ($34.99) and now the Sauvignon Blanc and would put them up against any wine that sold twenty dollars more. This wine has the grapefruit that you might expect from Sauv Blanc, but it is a lighter and sweeter ruby red Grapefruit flavor than the archetypical New Zealand, with their “kick you in the teeth” acidity. Smells of summer like apple blossom, fresh cut grass and citrus on the nose with white peaches, nectarines and just a hint of slate on the finish, this wine is a showstopper.

So this summer, keep cool with these refreshing food-friendly crowd pleasers!


– Jennifer Laurie

Thanksgiving Wine Picks

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, from the sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie to the turkey and wine, I am lucky enough to sit back and enjoy it all.  However, for most shoppers, it’s a hectic scramble through the aisles of Nino’s as they grab all of the appropriate turkey day complements. Well, here are my picks for the big day to help ease your wine worries.  Whether you’re on a budget or looking to splurge, Nino’s has the wine to suit your needs.

Drink on a dime – These wines are easy drinking crowd pleasers that won’t bust your budget!

Castle Rock Pinot Noir California Cuvee 2009 – Regularly $12.99 Now $8.99

What an overachiever! Even at $12.99, this is a great value.  Cooked plum, forest floor, and ripe cranberry with a nice dry finish.

PKNT Pinot Noir Itata Valley, Chile 2009 – $6.99

A very nice little Pinot Noir that’s fruity, with black cherry and spice notes.

Conde De Alicante Rosé Alicante, Spain – $6.99

Bright strawberry and raspberry fruit with a clean, dry finish.

Columbia Crest Riesling Two Vines Columbia Valley, Washington – $7.99

Sweet, with zippy acidity. Pear, honey and apricot round out this clean finishing Riesling.

For The Savvy Sipper – Good everyday values for the more sophisticated palates.


Georges Deboeuf Morgon Beaujolais, France 2009$11.99

There has been a big buzz around the 2009 Beaujolais and this little gem did not let me down! Strawberry and Bing cherry in the nose, with lovely floral notes.  Black currant and blackberry, with a chocolaty richness and supple mid-palate.  Not overly dry, but has a little tannic grip that leaves you wanting more.

Maipe Rosé of Malbec Mendoza, Argentina 2010 – $10.99

Last February I was able to go to a trade tasting in Virginia, where I tried nearly 200 wines. Out of the lot, the most memorable was this little Rosé from Argentina.  The color is bright Magenta, the nose is full of bright strawberry and pomegranate fruit, and the taste is a burst of watermelon and strawberry. There’s enough fruit to keep the White Zin drinker happy and enough complexity and acidity for everyone else.

Helfrich Pinot Gris Alsace, France 2007$11.99

Fresh and clean with cooked pear, apple, and just a touch of grapefruit. This wine is not too sweet, just lightly juicy to complement an assortment of flavorful dishes.

Valley of the Moon Pinot Blanc Sonoma County, California 2008 – $16.99

Ripe juicy pear with citrus notes. Round and fleshy. Nice acidity on the finish makes this a great palate cleanser.

Serious Snobbery – If you have guests coming over that love to lament about the do’s and don’ts of wine, here are my picks to impress the self proclaimed sommelier in your life.

Apolloni Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Oregon 2006 – $32.99

Soft and complex, this wine integrates toasty oak with black cherry and spice. A ripe, round, and stylistically classic Oregon Pinot Noir. Aerate or open at least an hour before dinner.

Celani Family Vineyards Rosé Napa Valley, California 2009 – $17.99

Crisp and clean, the acidity in this rose will cut through the heavy potatoes and creamy dishes. Bright strawberry and pomegranate flavors.

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France 2007 – $69.99

Vieux Telegraphe is a favorite of Wine Spectator, Robert Parker, and yours truly. The 2007 is highly sought after for its ripe complexity and cellaring ability. However, with a little aeration this will make your cranberries sing and your Turkey dance! Herbs, ground pepper, and stoney in the nose, the palate is ripe with cooked cranberry, fig, currant, and a touch of licorice on the finish.

Champalou Vouvray, France 2007 – $19.99

Made from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes, this wine expresses ripe stone fruits like peaches and apricot intertwined with notes of white flowers. The creamy, fruity mid-palate will complement golden raisin in stuffing, cooked apples, and the turkey.

Now of course, we have many, many more wines to choose from and everyone’s tastes are different.  Think of this as a starting point.  If one of these wines intrigued you but you want something a little different, Nino’s wine team will be here to help find the perfect bottle for your Thanksgiving feast!


– Jennifer Laurie