Generally speaking, wines made from the Pinot Grigio grape are meant to be enjoyed upon release, and not really the type of wine you’d store in the cellar for a few years. But does that mean Pinot Grigio can’t age? Not necessarily.
When it comes to wines aging gracefully, everything depends on the quality of the fruit and the ability of the producer. Take, for example, Castello Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio — the only wine made 100% from grapes grown in Montalcino under the warm Tuscan sun. Situated in the southern part of Tuscany, Italy, Montalcino vineyards enjoy long, hot summer days and cool evenings — ideal conditions that allow Pinot Grigio grapes to ripen fully and produce rich, succulent wine that has the ability to evolve over time (if you choose to store it instead of drinking immediately).
But don’t take it from us — Tuscan wine expert John Fodera wrote this about San Angelo Pinot Grigio 2015 in his blog Tuscan Vines:
The taster is greeted by notable aromas of lemon grass, white peach, lemon zest and wet clay. It’s attractive to smell. On the palate, the wine is fresh and lively. Given that Montalcino is located in southern Tuscany, this wine develops more round flavors on the palate than it’s northern cousins from provinces like Trentino. Flavors of ripe peach, lemon and pineapple are persistent and ripe. Crisp and balanced, the acidity cleanses the palate delicately and leaves you ready for another taste. I chose this wine from my cellar to illustrate the differences between an “older” Pinot Grigio and the most recent (yet to be) release. Showing no signs of age and made the perfect pairing with the first pesto of the season. Wonderful value around $17 and a much better buy than one of the more “famous” and ubiquitous Pinot Grigio on the market.
John also enjoyed San Angelo 2017:
The first thing that strikes you is the color. The 2017 is almost clear, like tainted water. It appears more delicate, but it really isn’t. The flavors and aromas are different, but no less concentrated. On the nose, the wine features flinty stone, lemon peel, grapefruit and petrol notes. On the palate, the wine is fresh and crisp with zippy acidity and a nice core of lemon and white nectarine. Fresh and clean on the finish, this plumped up against the backdrop of the burrata and held its own nicely with the pesto.
What say you? Do you prefer to drink Pinot Grigio when it’s at its freshest, or with a few years of age? Have you ever tasted a Pinot Grigio that improved with cellaring? Share your thoughts below.
Joe Janish is Director of Public Relations for Banfi Vintners, a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), and a veteran of the wine industry for over 20 years. He launched one of the first wine blogs back in 1997, the now-defunct “Wine Dictator,” and cut his teeth on his grandfather’s homemade wine. He still keeps a copy of Wine for Dummies nearby for reference.