NEW WINE: Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Gris

It’s not every day that Kendall-Jackson comes out with a new wine. But that’s just what we’ve done this year. Introducing the Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Gris.

Why Pinot Gris? Because it’s become one of America’s favorite white wines. Chardonnay is still #1, in terms of sales, but it’s amazing how quickly Pinot Gris (also known as Pinot Grigio — same wine) has bounded into second place.

As recently as ten years ago, there wasn’t all that much Pinot Gris planted in California. Acreage of Sauvignon Blanc, the number three white wine today in terms of sales, swamped that of Pinot Gris by a factor of more than 300%.

Today, the situation is completely reversed. Plantings of Pinot Gris have almost caught up with Sauvignon Blanc, and at the current rate of expansion, Pinot Gris will overtake Sauvignon Blanc within a few years.

What accounts for Pinot Gris’s popularity?

It’s probably the easiest-drinking white wine there is. Almost every wine-producing nation of Europe has grown Pinot Gris (under local names) for centuries. The grape and wine retains mouthwatering acidity, especially when grown in cool climates, such as Monterey, Sonoma, Lake and Santa Barbara counties — the sourcing of our grapes. That ensures freshness, but what Americans really like is the array of fruity flavor. You’ll find peaches, green melons, Meyer lemons, ripe figs and tropical fruits such as golden mangoes, along with a telltale flowery note that reminds some of sweet, white honeysuckle. And yet the finish is thoroughly dry; this is not one of those off-dry wines that can double as a dessert sipper. You can think of Pinot Grigio as a richer, more textured dry white wine than Sauvignon Blanc.

K-J’s Winemaster, Randy Ullom, made the choice to blend our Pinot Gris with five other varieties: Roussanne, Grüner Veltliner, Chardonnay, Viognier and Albariño. Each grape type brings its own unique contribution, but the overall impression is still Pinot Gris’s easy, delicious drinkability. Fermented entirely in stainless steel tanks, the wine has no oak influence at all, and doesn’t need any.

So try our new Pinot Gris. We think you’ll like it. And best of all, the price is oh, so affordable.

With summer fast approaching, our K-J Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Gris is an ideal wine to sip on the patio, at the beach, and all points inbetween. Throw some in a cooler and bring it to a weekend picnic, or sip a glass or two for Sunday brunch. Flavorful comfort foods come to mind for ideal pairings: scrambled eggs, smoked fish, fruit salads, broiled or fried chicken, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, salty ham and charcuterie. Or try going retro with a classic, buttery grilled cheese sandwich, using a Spanish Manchego.

So try our new Pinot Gris. We think you’ll like it. And best of all, the price is oh, so affordable.