Here is my Sneak Preview Wine of the Week, when I give you a heads-up about a recommendation to be published this coming Wednesday in my Washington Post wine column. This week’s sneak is one of the most unusual and intriguing wines I’ve tasted, a pinot gris from the Loire Valley.
Yep, you read that right. Vignoble Poiron-Dabin Pinot Gris “Tradition” 2010 hails from the far western edge of the Loire Valley, an area known more for its muscadet, but also for some fearless winemakers who aren’t afraid to challenge our preconceptions.
One of those preconceptions is that pinot gris is a white wine, maybe with a tinge of copper to the color. But this producer takes its “gris” seriously, giving the juice extended skin contact to draw color from the grapes before beginning a slow fermentation with indigenous yeasts. The result is a deep amber color that could lead you to think the wine is oxidized and ruined. You would be wrong. It is very ripe and sweet-tasting, though with a firm acidity that seems a bit out of kilter when the cold bottle is first opened. Don’t sip this by itself, it requires food to bring it into focus. My recommendation: Chill it well, and decant it at least 30 minutes before your Thanksgiving dinner. That will allow the wine to warm and the flavors to integrate, and the striking color may steer conversation away from all that dysfunctional family stuff.
I give the Poiron-Dabin Pinot Gris “Tradition” 2010 a 2 star rating, for “Excellent.” It also merits a “Great Value” sticker. At a mere $12, it resembles a pinot gris from Alsace but at a fraction of the price and is an ideal “Recession Buster” candidate for the Thanksgiving feast.
Unfortunately for Washington-area readers, this wine is fairly new to the market and not yet widely placed. But here’s the list of stores that have stocked it so you can get a head start on Wednesday’s Post readers:M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Magruder’s, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, and Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Arundel Mills Wine & Spirits and Preserve Wine & Spirits in Hanover; the Bottle Shop in North Potomac; Chesapeake Wine Co., Mt. Washington Wine Co., and Wine Market in Baltimore; College Square Liquors and Cranberry Liquors in Westminster; Eastport Liquors in Annapolis; Midway Liquors in Joppa; Quench! in Colesville; and State Line Liquors in Elkton. Available in Virginia at Private Stock in Richmond and the Wine Cellar in Middleburg.