Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Edmunds St. John El Dorado County Pinot Gris, 2006

Donna loves Pinot Grigio; I'm a fan of Alsace Pinot Gris. It's the same grape, you'd think we could find a common ground. But, alas, I'm less than ecstatic with most Pinot Grigios; and she sometimes frowns when I bring out another Pinot Gris.

Steve Edmunds may know what I'm talking about. Until this vintage, he has produced a Pinot Grigio from the grapes grown by Bob Witters in El Dorado County in California. As Steve explains on his label, the wine from 2006 "had more color than I'd ever seen, and its aromatic character developed very early. To my great surprise, the wine reminds me of Alsace, with a perfumed, spicy personality that's a big change from its predecessors. It's speaking a different language!"

As I open the screw cap bottle of Edmunds St. John Pinot Gris, I am pleased. The color is a deep gold and it has a full range of wonderful smells--spicy, waxy, ripe. Put your nose in the glass, and it smells exactly like a very, very ripe canteloupe. Yet with all this ripeness, there's also a racy finish and a hint of the herbal green quality I find in northeastern Italian Pinot Grigio. I'm smiling. Is this the Pinot Gris that will bring us together? Well, maybe. It is Pinot Gris, after all, not Pinot Grigio, we agree. And the difference is probably in the ripeness of the grapes when they were picked. But there's an irresistible quality to the ripe canteloupe aromas that we both enjoy. It's a very nice wine, worth another try.

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