by Fred McMillin
for November 4, 1997

Greet the Grigio (gree-zho)


  • Pinot Grigio (pee-no gree-zho) is a grayish-rose white wine grape planted extensively in northeastern Italy. This mutation of Pinot Noir at its best produces a crisp dry wine with a refreshing bite. It has become very fashionable in Italy.

  • Francesco Bolla, great grandson of founder Abele Bolla, spots a trend quickly. He has just produced Bolla's fourth vintage of Pinot Grigio.
The Rest of the Story: When Bolla adds another varietal to its repertoire, any serious wine enthusiast MUST try it. After all, Bolla's track record indicates they know what America likes; Bolla is the largest-selling premium imported wine brand in the U.S.A.

Their 1996 release is exactly what one wants to learn about the grape...100% Grigio...no oak to mask the varietal flavors...low-temperature fermentation to maximize the natural pear aroma and delicate citrus-pear flavors.

The Wine:
1996 Pinot Grigio, delle Venezie
Fratellie Bolla, Verona, Northeast Italy
Service—One hour in the fridge before pouring
Food Affinities—I took a bottle along to the Grand Cafe at San Francisco's Hotel Monaco...it paired beautifully with a combination suggested by Beth, our hostess: endive salad and the Catch of the Day, mahimahi.
Price—$7 to $8 range

Postscript: Several things of interest happened back in 1883. William Horlick, 37, invented "malted milk" at Racine, Wisconsin. German-American butcher Oscar F. Mayer, 23, introduced in Chicago Oscar Mayer weiners...AND in Italy, Abele and his three sons established the House of Bolla.

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.

Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf

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