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Wine Guy: A Trio of Pinot

Pinot’s tend to be very versatile, food-friendly wines — just the sort to enjoy during spring and into summer.

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Pinot continues to be top of mind, but in truth it’s not just Pinot Noir. In general, the Pinot Trio — or should it be Pinot Triumvirate — tend to be very versatile, food-friendly wines. Just the sort of bottles I’m gearing up to enjoy during spring and into summer. And Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir are actually mutations of the same grape. Here are fun sipping examples of each of the three — although in full disclosure there are really six Pinots, so apologies in advance to Pinot Meunier, Pinot Teinturier, and Pinot Noir Précoce but there’s only room for three bottles.

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Wine Guy

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Five Vineyards 2022 Pinot Blanc, B.C.

($16.99, #300301)

Let’s start with perhaps the least known of the trio. Pinot Blanc, or Pinot Bianco in Italian, doesn’t take up as much shelf space as its cultivar cousins, though there are numerous good examples of Pinot Blanc produced by B.C. wineries. Five Vineyards’ bottling has long been a standard, and the most recent vintage keeps a vibrant theme. Lemon and white flower aromas lead into an overall fresh and angular wine, with nuances of grapefruit and green apple before a sharp, fresh finish. Take note, spot prawn season is right around the corner and this bottle is ready.

Bottom line: B, Rock out Pinot.

Wine Guy

Pietrame 2022 Pinot Grigio, Italy

($14.99, #278658)

Next up is Pinot Grigio, a.k.a. Pinot Gris. Actually, it’s interesting to watch the naming evolution. Italian wineries obviously designate their bottles Pinot Grigio, but the rest of the wine world — outside of France — seems to liberally shift between Grigio and Gris. This bottle is squarely in the Grigio camp as it hails from the Terre de Chieti area of Abruzzo. So not as north as many Italian Pinot Grigio, which shows on the palate. A soft entry brings engaging aromatics of citrus and hay, with orchard fruit vibes overall. It’s still crisp, yet textured, before a straight ahead, bright conclusion.  

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Bottom line: B+, Solid value Pinot

Wine Guy

La Crema 2022 Pinot Noir, California

($32.99, #826578)

Of course, then there’s Pinot Noir. Undoubtedly the most discussed and romanticized of the Pinots, revered by wine lovers and collectors around the world. California is one wine region noted for producing top Pinot Noirs, typically from cooler vineyard pockets in the state. For example, the grapes for this La Crema Pinot Noir are grown in the coastal Monterey appellation. It’s plush, fruit forward, and eminently sippable with abundant notes of berries, earth, and black pepper. With a balanced and polished finish, this Pinot Noir makes an easy pairing partner — everything from pizza to burgers, beef rice noodles to roast chicken.

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Bottom line: B+, Lip-smacking Pinot.

The Swirl: Naramata Bench Spring Release

The wineries of the Naramata Bench are returning to Vancouver for their annual Spring Release tasting. Taking place from 5-8p.m. on Friday, May 3 at the downtown campus of Vancouver Community College, this year’s event features new releases from more than 20 Naramata Bench wineries poured alongside light canapés and charcuterie. Tickets are $50 (plus GST), for complete details and to purchase go to  

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