I’m here to remind you that National Pinot Grigio Day is today, May 17th! I never met a wine holiday I didn’t like and this one is no exception. Few things are as refreshing as a chilled, crisp glass of Pinot Grigio and I’m honoring this grape with Mezzacorona Wine. Lets travel by glass to Trentino – one of Italy’s northernmost regions where you will find Mezzacorona Winery, established in 1904. This producer has over a century of winegrowing experience in this unique climate which is cooled by breezes from Lake Garda, the Adige River, and glaciers from surrounding alpines. Many associate red wine with Italy, but Italian whites are just as noteworthy.
Pinot Grigio is one of the most planted white grapes in Italy and thrives in the Adige Valley region aka alpine territory. This style of wine is zesty, crisp, and refreshing – if you want to experience saline minerality in wine, this is the one for you! Mezzacorona cultivates their Pinot Grigio vines on hillsides where they are trellised in a traditional pergola style. This variety is characterized by delicate honeysuckle, green apple, lime, lemon, and stone fruits such as nectarine or white peach. This wine’s hue is typically straw yellow with hints of green. It’s medium+ to high in acidity, light to medium bodied, and hangs in the low to medium abv range. Mezzacorona is consistently making a delightful, classic example of Italian alpine Pinot Grigio and this 2019 vintage tastes like spring in a bottle – plus, it’s an exciting value for around $15.
Here are some fun facts about Pinot Grigio:
- It’s birthplace is Burgundy, France
- Pinot Grigio is a mutation of Pinot Noir – that’s why the grape color is grayish-blue
- Pinot Gris (French) and Pinot Grigio Italian) are the same grape
- It ripens quickly and is usually harvested first to retain brilliant acidity
- The ideal time to open up your bottle of Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio is within 5 years
- Pinot Grigio grows in tight clusters that resemble pine cones and that’s the translation; Grigio means grey so this is a very literal translation/description
- This grape is incredibly versatile and grows well in warm climates and cool; each climate expresses a different style
Pairing Pinot Grigio
The pastabilities (see what I did there) are endless when it comes to great wine pairings, but my favorite this spring is linguine with clams + Mezzacoronawine Pinot Grigio. Linguine with clams is elegant and surprisingly simple to make. Pair this dish alongside Pinot Grigio and you will be transported to Trentino aka the heart of the Italian Alps. This single varietal wine captures the essence of the Adige Valley – it’s incredibly vivid, crisp, and mineral driven. Here is our go-to recipe for this iconic dish!
- 1 bag of linguine (about 1/2 lb or so)
- 3 tbsp of butter
- 2 tbsp of minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
- 2 cans of chopped clams (16 oz total)
- 1 cup of dry white wine (Pinot Grigio is great for this recipe)
- black pepper (start with about 1/2 tsp)
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (dry parsley works too)
- 1/2 lemon
- As pasta boils in water with a few pinches of salt, melt butter in a skillet and add in the garlic
- Let the garlic cook for a few minutes and then add in the clams and cook over medium heat
- Pour wine into the skillet and let clams simmer for about 5 minutes
- Add linguine, about 1/2 of the parsley, and lemon zest into the skillet and toss all ingredients over low heat for a few
- Serve and garnish with remaining parsley
Bonus pairing tip because charcuterie is basically an adult lunchable. Pinot Grigio is characterized by its high acidity so it pairs very well with soft, creamy cheese such as mozzarella, Brie, or midnight moon. This is literally my favorite combination of flavor components! Let’s go ahead and coin the phrase “Mezza and Mozza” for this heavenly pairing. When it comes to creating a cheeseboard, it’s all about the aesthetic. For me, a charcuterwreath makes any occasion special! It’s an incredibly simple, versatile concept that works for Christmas and spring time! Here we have a caprese inspired board with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, grapes, and rosemary for an enticing aromatic delight. Top with a pinch of salt + pepper and balsamic and enjoy!