Pinot Gris has found a happy home in Northwest vineyards, producing one of that region's best and most consistent white wines (with apologies to Chardonnay). Early on, most winery releases were on the rich and unctuous side of the flavor spectrum. But more and more often, Northwest Pinot Gris can be found in a more restrained, Alsatian style, one that I typically prefer. That was the case for all three of the panel's top picks, with wines from Oregon's Willamette Valley scoring a hat trick.
2016 Archery Summit Vireton Pinot Gris, $20
This wine opens with racy aromas of lime, kiwi, peach and papaya with floral lilac and ginger. The palate is a succulent mix of sweet and sour, marked by ripe peach playing against tangy grapefruit. Crisp acidity comes through on the lengthy finish along with touches of flint and mineral.
2018 Duck Pond Pinot Gris, $10.99
You get baked apple with a dash of cinnamon and light strawberry on the nose. The palate is lean and lively with kiwi, lime and ripe cranberry fruit flavors, backed by citrus zest and flinty mineral on the finish. Year in and year out, this is one of the best buys in Pinot Gris, and the 2018 is no exception.
2016 Lemelson Tikka's Run Pinot Gris, $23
There's an intriguing hint of bitterness on the nose that is otherwise filled with a mix of sweet stone fruit, ripe apple, lime and honeysuckle. Round, just-tart citrus dominates up front, giving way to mineral laced apricot and apple in the middle. A crisp hit of acidity marks the finish, along with more mineral and lime zest.