Sick of the same old pinot grigio? Try these instead

Like pinot grigio but yearning for something new to round out this summer?  Or do you have one of those friends who will touch nothing but their standby Santa Margherita?  If so, you are in luck – there are lots of good alternatives that can give you the same fruity but savory profile.  Here are two of my go-to ABG (anything but grigio) standbys:

1.  Greek whites, especially assyrtiko and athiri.  These two white varieties widely grown in Greece reminded me of pinot grigio from the first time I tasted them.  The Sigalas assyrtiko is perhaps the best known Greek white because of its ubiquity in wine geek circles, but the last time I tasted their range of whites I actually preferred the Sigalas assyrtiko-athiri blend:

  • 2010 Sigalas Assyrtiko-Athiri– Greece, Aegean, Santorini (5/10/2011)On the nose, mineral and fresh, slightly green with light savory olive. On the palate, has a certain fullness to it – smooth and kind of pretty. Has some substance to it. Paired with oysters though, this was not quite a magical match; felt a bit overpowered – almost felt like a Seven-Up when tasted after the oyster with cocktail sauce. 90-91 (90 points)

 2.  Grechetto from Umbria.  If you want to stick to Italy but are ready to try a white from an up-and-coming region, white wines from the Umbria region based on the grechetto grape are an excellent choice.  I have tasted the Grecante and Anima Umbria bottlings from Arnaldo Caprai multiple times and they offered green olive-inflected salinity in addition to crisp fruit, both at under $15 a bottle.  The Anima Umbria made for a refreshing summer sipper to offset spicy Thai curry this weekend, so don’t think of it only as a partner for Italian fare.

  • 2009 Arnaldo-Caprai Grechetto Colli Martani Grecante– Italy, Umbria, Colli Martani (3/25/2012)Medium-gold color, this is moderately fruity, with a slight savory green olive edge. An excellent choice to pair with light spring or summer fare, perhaps grilled fish. Those looking for an alternative to pinot grigio will enjoy this, as will fans of Greek assyrtiko and the like.

Posted from CellarTracker

The wines tasted in this post were tasted at free tastings open to members of the wine trade and media, and the Caprai wines were also tasted by means of review sample bottles received from the distributor.