Three pinot grigios reviewed

28 06 2010

Today we review 3 pinot grigios: Yalumba ($12), Adelsheim ($15), and Albino Armani ($18).

Bottom line:  Yalumba and Adelsheim are not recommended, based on taste.   Albino Armani is a very nice pinot grigio, but its price makes it a little bit difficult to recommend.

Before we begin: pinot gris and pinot grigio are just two different names for the same white wine grape.   The name used usually depends on the location of the winery — for example, pinot “grigio” is usually used in Italy and California, pinot “gris” in France and Oregon.

1.

Yalumba pinot grigio is Australian and costs $12.  It’s a very dry white wine with lots of acidity and minerality but not much in the way of depth, complexity, or fruit.  More importantly, overall it just isn’t delicious.  A friend who has a great palate noticed a slight aroma of urine. (Yikes.)  The first time I tried it, I agreed.  After a few more encounters with Yalumba I don’t get that anymore, and its clean taste has grown on me a bit, but it’s still not quite good enough to recommend. 

However, I can imagine somebody who really loves dry and minerally white wines being OK with the Yalumba, pairing it with shrimp, sushi or spicy roast chicken. 

2.

Adelsheim pinot gris is from Oregon and costs $15. It is very hard to describe, except that it is definitely not yummy.  In fact, it is awful.  To its credit, it’s not overly sweet, or overly acidic… it doesn’t taste like feet, or anything else that is remotely familiar… and its malignant flavor profile doesn’t linger.  Its minerally texture does linger, but only a little. 

Since I generally respect Oregon wines, I shared the Adelsheim with some friends to see what they thought.  It was universally hated.  I wish I could think of something truly good to say about this wine.  Wait — the label is beautiful, and features a painting of a woman by winery co-founder Ginny Adelsheim.  There!

3.

Albino Armani pinot grigio is from Italy and costs $18 at Total Wine.  It is very pleasant, easy to drink, and has a great balance of sweet and citrusy fruit against mild acidity.  It smells wonderful, with fresh, tropical scents.  And it sort of lights up your mouth.  Nice.  I can’t imagine anybody hating this wine, but I don’t think it is a massive crowd pleaser or incredibly delicious  as a pinot grigio, either.

If Albino Armani were $10 a bottle, I would DEFINITELY recommend it.  At $18, it’s a much closer call.  I think there are better white wine values.   

So, if cost is not a big issue for you, by all  means try the Albino Armani.  I think you’ll be happy you did.  If cost is more important, you can do better with other white wines.  I’ll search for a better value pinot grigio to recommend soon, but previously reviewed white wines that are better values include Nobilo sauvignon blanc and Bree riesling.

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