Pinot Grigio, 1981. Ponte| Vintage Wine History and Information

by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr |

Our white wine this month hails from the lands behind Venice, Italy. Many important wines come from this official region called The Veneto. (situated between Lake Garda and the Po and Piave rivers). However, our wine is not one of these important wines! It does not even have a DOC* designation. It is only a lowly Vino Da Tavola. But it is good! Very good in fact!

You see… the authorities chose not to have a DOC designation for the Pinot Grigio grape in the Veneto region. So if you select wine by the DOC* label only, you would miss this one. ( And quite often, you do get a wine that is not as good).

This wine is made by a giant. By the largest cooperative in the Piave area I am told. Cantina Sociale Cooperativa Ponte di Piave is composed of 1100 grape grower members who pool their resources, and produce a line of wines sold all over Europe. Somewhat similar to our Sunkist concept in California.

Many of their wines are ordinary, and just table wine quality. Every so often there is a star in a particular production. I find this Pinot Grigio del Veneto, 1981, a shining star for the price. Their winemaker must have put some special effort into making this wine.

The Pinot Grigio grape is called Pinot Gris in France, and Rulander or Sonnengold in other parts of Northern Italy near the Swiss border. It typically will vary in style from a light, pale, wine with not much distinction in aroma and flavor, to deeper-hued, beautifully perfumed wine, with clean and fresh flavors. These variations reflect the differing intentions of the winemakers. I classify it as a nice summer wine in the middle range!

This Ponte Pinot Grigio is pale golden yellow in color. It has a light aroma, with slight almond nuance, a perfumy character and a hint of chalkiness. It has a medium body; it is dry and well balanced. The flavor of the grape variety is dominant, and it finishes with a softness. The flavor lingers on your palate for 60 seconds or more. Serve chilled with chicken or fish, or as an aperitif.

Cellaring Notes: Drink now. Not for ageing. It has reached its best balance and will be good for 6 months.

*Denominazione di Origine Controllata or classification of origin that is controlled

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