Last week, I reviewed a Washington-state riesling from the Yakima Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA), and this week, I’m going to talk about another wine from the same producer (Mercer), but a different grape and a different AVA.
Mercer’s 2010 Pinot Gris comes from the Columbia Valley AVA. Columbia Valley is a huge AVA, taking up a lot of central and eastern Washington, and the Columbia Valley actually includes 99 percent of the total vineyard area planted in the state of Washington. Given that Washington is the second largest wine producer in the United States (behind only California), this AVA is hugely important to Washington wines. Now, size isn’t a bad thing when it comes to the Columbia Valley AVA; in fact, some of Washington’s best wines come out of this area.
The grape is known as Pinot Gris by the French and Pinot Grigio by the Italians (in the United States, each winemaker chooses their own term for the grape; they are interchangeable here.) It is a white wine grape that is actually thought to be a mutation from the red Pinot Noir grape. Gris means “gray” in French, and the clusters of grapes on a Pinot Gris vine have a blue-gray shade to them even though they produce a white wine.
One of the things to be aware of in choosing a Pinot Gris is where the wine is made. In France or Germany, the style of Pinot Gris is much richer and full-bodied, and these wines can age for long periods of time. In Oregon, California, and Washington, the wines are a bit lighter, ranging from a medium-bodied California style to the crisp and refreshing Oregon and Washington styles, which are more reminiscent of Italian Pinot Grigio.
Mercer’s take on Pinot Gris is a classic Pacific Northwest-style wine. Full of racy acidity and notes of green apple and pear with notes of minerality, Mercer Pinot Gris has a quick, clean finish. This wine is 100 percent Pinot Gris, so the true expression of Washington Pinot Gris can be found in this bottle. At a $14.99 MSRP, you get a lot of wine at an affordable price point.
Try pairing this wine with seafood dishes like clams, Dungeness crab, or even salmon for a delicious treat. This wine is perfect for those last days of summer when you want to spend a final night or two eating outdoors. Look for Mercer Pinot Gris in better wine shops and retailers, and you’ll have the perfect accompaniment for the last days of summer and early fall.
Disclosure: I received a sample of this product from Mercer for review. No other compensation from Mercer was received.