by Fred McMillin
for March 10, 1997

A No-Frills Pinot

Quick! Is the nation's largest producer of Pinot Gris (pee-no gree) located in California or New York? Answer: Neither one. The leader is located in OREGON, the King Estate Winery. Winemaker Brad Biehl finds that his Oregon Gris produces such a rich, full-bodied white wine that he eschews all the bells and whistles that are necessary with many Chardonnays. E.g., there's no acid reduction by malolactic fermentation. There's no fermentation in oak. There's almost no contact with wood at all.. .a mere 15% spent only two months in neutral (used) French oak. So how's the no-frills approach working? My Scott's-on-Lombard panel voted it Best White by a wide margin in our latest blind tasting. Try a bottle and see why the winery is King of the Gris.

1995 Pinot Gris, Appellation—Oregon King Estate
Eugene, Oregon

Category: Highly Recommended

Postscript: If you wish to explore food affinities of Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio in Italian), phone for the King Estate Pinot Gris Cookbook, or watch for the PBS TV cooking series based on the book.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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