- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 15, 2005

King Estate, Pinot Gris, Oregon, 2004, $15

Pinot gris is something of a chameleon. Pick the grapes early in the harvest and the wine most likely will taste steely. Pick them late, and it will seem almost honeyed. But pick somewhere in the middle, and the wine will be redolent of crisp apples and pears and just right for serving at Thanksgiving.

The best examples of the crisp, tart style of pinot gris come from northern Italy, where the grape is known as pinot grigio, while the finest renditions of the rich, lush style tend to come from Alsace in northern France.

Oregon, however, champions the middle style. The climate there is warm enough to ripen the grapes fully, but not so hot that the wines end up tasting fat or heavy.

King Estate’s widely available pinot gris offers consistently good quality for a fair price. It tastes of autumn fruit, with just a hint of spice. Medium-bodied, it has just enough heft to stand up to all the various dishes that will grace the holiday table (though to be honest, no wine really goes with jellied cranberries). Look next week for a recommended Thanksgiving red to serve alongside it.

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