April Domestic Wine: 2012 Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, OREGON

“Founded in 1970, in Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley, Ponzi Vineyards is internationally acclaimed for producing some of the world’s finest Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and White Riesling, as well as Arneis and Dolcetto, two rare Italian varietals.

Ponzi Vineyards continues to set the standard for Oregon’s viticultural innovation while maintaining an unwavering commitment to a tradition of winemaking excellence. For more than two decades, this philosophy has been carried on by the Ponzi Family’s second generation: Winemaker Luisa Ponzi and Director of Sales and Marketing Maria Ponzi.

All 120 acres of family-owned vineyards and the state-of-the-art winery are LIVE Certified Sustainable, the world’s highest standard for sustainable viticulture and enology. Driven by the concept that the variety must match the terroir and climate, Ponzi Vineyards continues to set the bar for Oregon and remains at the forefront of the nation’s top wine producers.”-ponziwines.com

Vineyard  Details: The 2012 Pinot Gris is produced from certified sustainable Ponzi Aurora, Avellana and Estate vineyards, as well as the Linda Vista, Gemini, Dion, Walnut Ridge, Ridge Road, Kraemer and Zenith vineyards.

Vintage Report: On the heels of the late cool 2010 and 2011 vintage; 2012 was a welcome sight! Although the season started with a wet and long spring weather, the summer brought dry and warm conditions. From July through mid-October, there were only trace amounts of precipitation. Days were warm, but nights stayed cool giving us beautiful ripeness and sugar, but maintaining bright acidity. Crops were low, due to the wet spring, causing the intensity of flavor to be increased. 2012 is being hailed as an “epic” vintage in Oregon wine history and the wines are proving that to be true.

 

Varietal: 100% Pinot Gris

Alcohol: 13.2% by volume

Tasting Notes: Island aromas of guava, passion fruit, pineapple and vanilla precede a lively mouth of kumquat, kiwi, candied key lime and hibiscus blossom. The sweet fruit is complemented by a zing of bright acidity with hints of white pepper on the finish. Luisa Ponzi, Winemaker

“Fresh and lively, with a distinct ginger root character weaving through the lime and pear fruit, finishing with snap and expression. Drink now.”-90 Points, Wine Spectator

Food Pairings: Go fresh. Pinot Gris with its zesty and refreshing acidity pairs really well with fresh vegetables, raw fish and lighter meals. Fish and shellfish are classic pairing partners with Pinot Gris.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “The fruit jumps out of the glass. White peaches, citrus, lime and lemon flavor; rounded with pineapple and mango as well. A great wine to welcome Spring. Drink and enjoy with food. It is like sunshine in the glass.”-JL

Franco Serra is made by the Sperone family who has produced affordable, premium wines for four generations. In 1920, Antonia Sperone opened a small wine shop in Torino where he sold bulk wine directly to consumers. Unsatisfied with price and quality of the local wine, Antonio started his own winery in Puglia where land was inexpensive and produced good wine. He built a bottling facility in Torino and was soon able to offer his customers quality wines at prices everyone can afford. Sadly, it was destroyed when the city was bombed in WWII. The winery in Puglia survived the war and enabled Antonio’s grandson Giacomo to open a new facility near Milan where he produced vermouth, sparkling wines, spirits, and fine wines.

With the help of his sons Paolo and Antonio, the company grew quickly and achieved distribution throughout Italy and expanded into foreign markets. In 1965, the family purchased 75 acres of prime vineyards in Piedmont and built a new winery in Monferrato. Even as the prices fetched for wines from this increasingly fashionable region continue to climb, the Sperone family proudly focuses on value. The Franco Serra line provides everyone with the opportunity to drink thoughtfully crafted, distinctive wines from Italy’s most renowned region.

A Little About Dolcetto: Dolcetto is a black Italian wine grape variety widely grown in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The Italian word dolcetto means “little sweet one”, but it is not certain that the name originally carried any reference to the grape’s sugar levels: it is possible that it derives from the name of the hills where the vine is cultivated. In any case the wines produced are nearly always dry. They can be tannic and fruity with moderate or decidedly low levels of acidity, and are typically meant to be consumed one to two years after release.

Varietal: 100% Dolcetto

Alcohol: 13.0% by volume

Tasting Notes: Ruby red color tending towards purple. The nose is pleasing and distinctive, light floral, red fruit aromas with hints of smoke. Soft with cranberry and raspberry fruit in the mouth with a touch of tobacco. Light to medium bodied with moderate acidity.

Food Pairings: A great food wine. Ideal with meats, vegetables, ravioli and risotto, to name a few.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Layers of flavor here…ripe berries along with earthy mushroom notes. Great to serve with pork or lamb, or anything off the grill. Dolcetto is a unique grape, and I feel this wine really shows you how good it can be! Enjoy!”-JL