This month’s recipe offers an opportunity for a fun and flavorful gathering. Combine that with a well-made Pinot Gris and a group of people that are happy to be together and you are bound to have an enjoyable and memorable time.
Pinot Gris, which is also known as Pinot Grigio, is a grape varietal which can produce a fairly wide range of white wine styles, depending on where it is grown and how it is treated in the winery. This versatile grape is grown commercially in many places around the globe, including Italy, France, Germany, South America, South Africa, Australia, Oregon and California. Some very fine examples are grown and produced right here in Sonoma County.
We need the versatility of Pinot Gris in order to match the wide-ranging flavors that are part of the base of the Hot Pot Broth, as well as the variable flavors and textures that are possible with the additional meats and vegetables which can be dunked into the broth. A properly crafted Pinot Gris should have subtle aromas of citrus, various fruits and floral notes. The wine is typically light to medium bodied with a moderate acidity and should have no aggressive flavors or sharp edges. This modest profile lends itself to summertime sipping as well as being paired with a wide range of foods. This month’s recipe has rich, spicy, savory and herbal notes and the adaptability of Pinot Gris can play along with each of those without clashing. I would recommend paying a couple of extra dollars for a nicer, locally produced Pinot Gris/Grigio rather than some of the least expensive offerings available on your store’s shelves. These mass-produced offerings will likely have been grown in too warm a climate and be a bit flabby and one-dimensional. Spending a few dollars more will allow you to purchase a wine which will have the complexity and structure you are looking for to actually enhance the dish, rather than just accompanying it.
So cook up a hot pot, gather some friends and family members, and open a bottle of delicious and versatile Pinot Gris – a nice wine can always help to improve the atmosphere at your gatherings. Cheers!
Jeff James is the founder and co-owner, with his wife Judy, of Stony Point Vineyard and James Family Cellars. Their Cotati vineyard and winery have consistently produced award-winning wines. Jeff can be reached at info@JamesFamilyCellars.com or www.JamesFamilyCellars.com