So dear reader, good for you on checking back for the first of Matt's Wine Not!'s (is that proper grammar?) reviews on Inniskillin's 2010 Summer Series wines: the 2008 Pinot Gris, which won a Gold Medal at the 2009 Intervin International Wine Awards!

This is the first of four reviews that I will be doing in the aforementioned Inniskillin Summer Series for this calendar year, and I'm starting off with one beautiful wine (and I'm not saying that because I feel the need to suck up to them...I really do like it!!).

These reviews will have a bit more depth to them, including which foods I ate with the wine, just so you have an idea of what to eat (or what not to eat!) with them. I am admittedly a lousy food "pairer" - I drink reds with fish and have no problem doing so! To me, you drink and eat what you want, pair whatever you want, because ultimately, good food and good wine is what you make of it!

First, a little background about the Pinot Gris variety of vino. Pinot Gris is a grayish-blue skinned grape, and is thought to be the mutant clone of Pinot Noir grapes - holy X-Men Batman! The "Pinot" part, for the record, comes from the French word for "pine cone," as the grapes grow in a bunch similar to appearance to its namesake. These grapes originate from France (not the ones actually used in this wine however, they're from Ontario), and have been cultivated since the Middle Ages. (Thank you Wikipedia.)

Next, I will indulge you in the fine meal with which I had the pleasure to eat this with! Having consulted with one of the foodbags at work (I call him "foodbag" for fun, he's actually a nice guy), he advised pairing a Pinot Gris with pork, so, here we go! I did!

My wonderful wife that evening had made a lovely barbeque sauce pork tortilla wrap featuring an apple coleslaw, with salsa, a sour cream/hummus spread, and other accoutrements. I'll tell you how the wine paired with the food, but first, the main event, the wine itself! After all, that's why you're here!

First, I chilled it in my wine fridge (i.e. normal refrigerator as I am not of the status to own a dedicated wine fridge - come on Lotto Max!) for 10 minutes. Got it? Good.

This VQA certified wine is screw-cap-topped (or screw-top-capped?) and upon pouring, this Pinot Gris has a yellowy straw colour, and upon sloshing the vino around ye olde glass, one can see a light glass coating, and even some bubbles popping up here and there.

Poking my nose near the glass, the Pinot Gris had a crisp scent, which was fresh, flavourful, and fruit laden; I noted it was "appley" (nothing but professionalism here!), which was not intense, but was nice.

Taste time, and this wine has a definite fresh bite! T'was bubbly! Zingy! Medium bodied and dry as well, there were notes of apple, peach, and perhaps citrus too. The aftertaste had some fresh sourness, and was a tiny bit bitter, although the flavour lingered on which was great; the apple showed through even in the aftertaste.

Expert opinion (i.e. the back of the bottle) states that this wine was aged in oak barrels (very nice!) and that the wine is:

"not only aromatic but also complex and full. The wine has aromas of peach, vanilla, honey and tropical fruit and has a long finish with a hint of spice."


See, this is why the winemakers get paid the big bucks and I get paid, well, nothing! Of course, you may taste what I taste, or what was noted on the bottle, or you may taste nothing of what we did at all!

That's the beauty of wine: who needs consensus? Make it your own.


Now! For pairing details! The fresh, crisp fruit taste of the wine went very well with the sweet/smokiness of the barbeque sauce pork, as well as the apple in the coleslaw. Where it didn't pair as nice was the lime juice bite in the slaw, as its acid clashed with the zing already present in the Pinot Gris. I'd pair this definitely with pork or a light fish like tilapia, and also chicken, and foods with some spicy kick may go well with it too (although I am an admitted spice wimp).

I'd enjoy this wine any time, afternoon or evening, although I definitely could see myself pulling this one out to a nice Spring or Summer picnic, or early evening night out on a patio to sip and enjoy.

Well what can I say that I've not already said, or typed! It is delightfully bright, fruit laden, crisp, and delicious, and has a refreshing bite that will leave you wanting more. Definitely a great buy, pick up a bottle when you can, because when Winter returns (especially in Canada!) a bottle of this may remind you of warmer days to come.

***1/4 out of 4

Available at a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store for C$19.95 (US$18.86).

From LCBO.com:

INNISKILLIN WINEMAKER'S SERIES BARREL AGED PINOT GRIS 2008, 750 mL bottle

  • LCBO/Vintages #177766
  • Wine, White Wine
  • 12.0% Alcohol/Vol.
  • Sugar Content: D
  • Made in: Ontario, Canada
  • By: Vincor International Inc.

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