Pinot grigio is the number one imported wine in the United States. It’s been known for years as an inexpensive, readily available option for those of us who “need-a-glass-of-wine-right-now”. Snubbed by many elite wineries and all around wine snobs, pinot grigio, and it’s sweeter sister White Zinfandel, have had a, well, ‘maternal’ reputation, for better or worse. Bon Apetit calls it “mom wine.”
“Moms tend to drink wines that are readily available, familiar, and not too expensive,” Marile Borden, founder and editor of MomsWhoNeedWine.com, told the magazine.
And what’s so wrong with that? The convenience factor of these grocery store items coupled with the attractive price point of under ten dollars per bottle make both wines the natural choice for busy, budget conscious people. When it comes to drinking, maybe we are all moms.
And now, apparently, we’re getting the recognition we deserve, with new, more refined versions of white zinfandels and pinots hitting the market.
Turley Wine Cellars, a reputable and elite winery in California, has taken monumental steps in leading this crusade. Christina Turley, daughter of founder Larry Turley, has become the unofficial ambassador of white zinfandels at her family-owned vineyard. Joining the family business after working as a sommelier in New York City, Christina saw a burgeoning market for white zinfandel and wondered why no one had jumped on this idea yet to produce a high end, sophisticated classic. So she made it her mission to provide it. And she was right to do so. Her very first set of cases sold out in just two hours and this year, Christina was listed as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in the food and wine category. At $19 per bottle and made in a dry style that lends itself to notes of acidity, Turley recommends her new take on white zinfandel to be paired with seafood. Giving the market a white zinfandel option that is not mass produced, overly sugary or unsophisticated was met with great excitement and now, Turley Wine Cellars have positioned themselves at the forefront of this so-called mom wine revolution.
Channing Daughters Winery felt the same way about pinot grigio. They saw a wine that at its worst, lacked body and character. But at its best, could be a truly world-class wine with just the right amount of sweetness, texture and flavor. And armed with that knowledge, the winemakers at Channing Daughters set out to make their dream pinot grigio. Now seen on the menus of award-winning, high-end restaurants, their 2011 pinot is changing perceptions one dinner plate at a time. And because you can also pick up a bottle online for $20, it’s still fairly affordable. The Channing Daughters website describes their signature wine as “This lovely dry white wine is clean, alluring and focused with loads of personality and a silken mouthfeel. We have often said that Pinot Grigio gets a bad rap from the thin, dilute industrial examples and we are proud to enlighten the naysayers with a Pinot Grigio of superior character.”
Thanks to the renewed faith in “mom” tastes, restaurants that once considered them pinots and zins too generic and sugary, are adding them to their menu. It seems the wine connoisseurs of 2014 have found a new appreciation for the vintage classics. So ha! Looks like moms were right all along.