Friday, 15 April 2011

If it's Songkran it must be Pinot Grigio. Or Pinot Gris?

I don't quite know how Pinot Grigio came to supplant Chardonnay in the hearts and minds of white wine drinkers - maybe they'd had their fill of blowsy over-oaked Aussie blockbusters  - but it has become the most popular import in the USA and seems to have carved a niche for itself as the tip-of-the-tongue prompted white wine of choice. 

Which is a bit of a shame actually because it's not always an easy drink to enjoy, especially on an empty stomach. Bottled very young, it can sometimes be on the shelves mere weeks after harvest. You might find examples that are quite frizzante, or very heavily perfumed, even pungent, thickly laden with exotic fruit and honey, spicily dry and acidic or cloyingly sweet. 
Tim Adams 2009 Pinot Gris is
available from Tesco for £11

And you might not even know which of its many variations you're getting until you're already committed so you could end up with exactly the lightweight bone-dry neutral Italian style white you wanted yesterday at lunch but which lacks the depth and flavoursome substance of Australia's offerings that you actually need with today's dinner.

Which would be Thai.

Because as I write it's Songkran - Thai New Year - and a great excuse to celebrate with classic dishes from Thailand like Tom Yung Kung (hot and sour prawn soup), Gaeng Kiew Wahn Gai (chicken green curry) and Pad Thai Noodles.

Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris is just the white wine for this. It has either the acidic sharpness to cut through heavily spiced chilli-hot dishes or can provide the exotic perfumery and honeyed weight to complement the richness of tropical herbs, vegetables and fruit that make so much Thai food so distinctively delicious.

Tim Adams Pinot Gris 2009 strikes a happy balance between the two, rose gold in colour with lemongrass and ginger on the nose then dollops of ripe fruit like peaches and lychees giving it a rich and fat feel, balanced by kumquats plus tart passionfruit and crisp Asian pears. 

From Australia's Clare Valley, this structured and weighty example, though at 12.5% ABV relatively light in alcohol, has a refreshing zingy acidity in its lasting finish - it's just the thing to make the most of Thai New Year. Happy Songkran Day. 


1 comment:

  1. Fascinating - we've just been looking ourselves at the way in which Pinot Grigio has become the default white wine in the UK:


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