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Kris Pinot Noir 2011
It pairs exceptionally well with speck (the local thick-sliced, cured ham) and Taleggio cheese, and more casual fare such as pasta, pizza or smoked sausages.
KRIS wine is handcrafted in Alto Adige using grapes sourced from Italy’s most esteemed growing regions. The winery is located in the hillside town of Montagna, where culture is a unique reflection of Germanic heritage and Italian nationality. An ideal combination of traditional winemaking artistry and modern technology is used to blend each of the KRIS wines. The timeless and inspiring KRIS labels emphasize the role of the sun in ripening the grapes to perfection, the human hand in crafting the wine, and the lips that savor the wine. Riccardo Schweizer, a native of Alto Adige, studied cubism in Paris under Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. The original paintings were given by Schweizer to his friend, the KRIS winery’s founder for his birthday. KRIS Pinot Grigio IGT Delle Venezie takes full advantage of the “delle Venezie” designation by marrying the best fruit from the appellation’s three permitted regions. Veneto fruit provides the delicate floral notes and the classic almond finish. Grapes sourced from the southwest facing slopes of Montagna receive ample sun and contribute ripe, yet fresh, citrus and pear fruit. Soil from the Mulinat vineyards is gravely and well drained, which helps to limit yields and intensify flavor. KRIS Pinot Noir is carefully selected from hillside vineyards nestled among the Apennine foothills of the Otrepò Pavese region of Lombardy. These highly reputed vineyards offer many different microclimates of varying exposures and elevations which contribute to the distinctive component in the final blend. The KRIS winemakers focus on quality, low yield production methods and unique mastery of classic Alto-Adige grapes, which have gained them much acclaim.
The source of some of Italy’s best and most distinctive white wines, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is where Italian, Germanic and Slavic cultures converge. The styles of wines produced in this region of Italy's far north-east reflect this merging of cultures. Often shortened to just “Friuli,” the area is divided into many distinct subzones, including Friuli Grave, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Collio Goriziano and Carso. The flat valley of Friuli Grave is responsible for a large proportion of the region’s wine production, particularly the approachable Pinot grigio and the popular Prosecco. The best vineyard locations are often on hillsides, as in Colli Orientali del Friuli or Collio. In general, Friuli boasts an ideal climate for viticulture, with warm sunny days and chilly nights, which allow grapes to ripen slowly and evenly.
In Colli Orientali, the specialty is crisp, flavorful white wine made from indigenous varieities like Friulano (formerly known as Tocai Friulano), Ribolla gialla and Malvasia Istriana.
Red wines, though far less common here, can be quite good, especially when made from the deeply colored, rustic Refosco variety. In Collio Goriziano, which abutts Slovenia, many of the same varieties are planted. International varieties like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc are also common, but they tend to be Loire-like in style with herbaceous character and mellow tannins. Carso’s star grape is the red Teranno, notable for being rich in iron content and historically consumed for health purposes. It has an earthy, meaty profile and is often confused with the distinct variety Refosco.
One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).
In the Glass
Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.