Kitson Wine’s 2011 Pinot Gris

In July our old-school paper newsletter, which is still mailed out via the postal service, had the Kitson Wine’s 2011 Pinot Gris on the front cover. It is not often that TWH features a domestic wine as the Wine of the Month, but then again it is not often that a small production (only 100 cases produced), single-vineyard, distinctively delicious domestic wine is offered to us at such an affordable price. The 2011 Pinot Gris from Kitson Wines comes from Donnelly Creek Vineyard planted in 1991 by Mary Elke and lies just west of Boonville in the Anderson Valley. Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley is nestled among rolling coastal hills and is just 15 miles long. Along with Pinot Noir, white Alsatian varietals like Pinot Gris thrive in the warm day/cool evening climate of the Anderson Valley. 

 

The grapes for Kitson’s 2011 Pinot Gris were hand-harvested, whole-cluster pressed and fermented in stainless steel tank. The natural acidity of the wine prevented malolactic fermentation, so it is fresh and vibrant. The fermented wine spent time in both tank and neutral barrel. The texture of this wine is opulent and round. Flavors of ripe mandarin, honeydew melon and ripe pear dominate. An unexpected hint of cinnamon and nuttiness rounds out the finish. One can easily pay twice as much for a wine of this quality from Northern California. The winemaker, Brad Kitson, works full time for a small boutique Napa Valley winery but previous to this, he worked with Mary Elke; this is how he came upon the fruit for this bottling. Brad has been a TWH customer for some time and it was on one of his visits here to pick up his order that he kindly left a bottle for our staff to taste. I wasn’t at the shop the day Brad left the sample, so when our staff popped open the wine after hours one evening, I had no preconceived ideas about the wine. Well, that’s not exactly true; the jaded wine buyer in me was expecting yet another overly-priced wine trying to break onto the market. As we tasted the Pinot Gris and were catching up on the day’s events, it quickly dawned on me how delicious the Kitson Pinot Gris was drinking. In fact we all took a pause and unanimously concluded that this was indeed delicious, but I was sure that the asking price was going to be at the high end of the spectrum. A call in to Brad revealed a price generous and beyond fair for what I thought was excellent, correct, delightful and fresh Pinot Gris. I don’t think I’ve ever placed an order for this much domestic Pinot Gris at one time before. One taste and you’ll see why I was quick to pull the trigger.

 

A great warm-weather white to serve with grilled salmon, Indian-spiced entrees or good ol’ turkey burgers.  Next time you think Chardonnay or are hankering for a white with body, reach for a bottle of Kitson Wines’ 2011 Pinot Gris for an entirely new and delicious taste sensation. You’ll be amazed at how well suited it is for complex dishes despite its void of excessive oak. Versatility is key here. Oh, and by the way don’t stress about the perfect pairing, a glass enjoyed by itself while sitting on the glider in the shade will do just fine! As for me, I’ve been favoring the front porch greeting neighbors with my sans food glass. At this point I’m probably known in our ‘hood as that lady who always has a full glass, but then again I am that person who sees things as half full anyway. Remember hope is one of the few things we can control in life. That and the enjoyment of a delicious glass of wine!
Anya Balistreri
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