This wet-and-wild spring has been so cold that I've been hesitant to give up the red wines of winter. Spring is supposed to be a season of transition, but this is Boise, where weeks of record lows can be followed by a sudden shift to record highs. Still, I'm craving something white, though nothing too lean or crisp. The perfect choice? Pinot gris, with its combination of lively acidity and rich, ripe fruit flavors. Here are the panel's top picks:
2009 Odyssea Pinot Gris, $9.99
Argentina is more than just malbec and torrontes country, as this bargain-priced pinot gris proves. Fresh and floral on the nose, it's a lovely mix of peach, citrus, pineapple and rose with a faint whiff of fresh grass. Odyssea is a well-balanced wine with lush stone fruit and sweet pineapple playing against tart apple and citrus. A light lemon zest comes through on the lingering finish.
2008 Ponzi Pinot Gris, $15.99
This entry from Oregon was a bit closed in at first, but opened up nicely to reveal layers of fresh herbs, pear, tangerine, papaya and mango. On the palate, silky peach and pear blend nicely with bright citrus (lemon, lime, blood orange). The remarkably persistent finish is filled with more ripe and creamy citrus. This was the richest of the three wines but was in no way overwhelming.
2008 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris, $13.99
This one opens with lovely floral apple and peach combined with hints of honeycomb, pine nut and basil. It is elegantly structured and undeniably rich with ripe apple fruit flavors mingling with soft melon and apricot. Blended with a little pinot blanc and muscat, the wine's partial barrel fermentation adds a toasty touch to the velvety finish.