Pinot Grigio is the most popular imported white grape variety in the U.S. Frankly, I just don’t get it. It’s not aromatic and on the palate is largely a mouthful of acidity—refreshing to be sure but so is water and I don’t pay $12 for a glass of water. The problem is not the grape. The very same grape when vinified in Alsace is complex, fleshy, and hedonistic. But the Italians harvest early to preserve acidity producing a sea of thin, uninteresting wines that garner relatively high prices because of the demand.
The Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio from the Alto Aldige region of Italy is the largest selling Italian import to the U.S. And it’s pricey. Is it a cut above this sea of mediocrity?
Faint apple and pear notes play well with a salty mineral aroma that sets this wine apart. On the palate it is bone dry, light bodied, with crisp acidity but not much flavor. It will pair well with fish or light chicken dishes but you won’t find much to contemplate. It is better than most Pinot Grigio, if you like salty minerality, but at this price, if you want something crisp and refreshing, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc would provide more interest and you would get some pocket change back as well.