If you read my last post, you will recall that I took a disparaging swipe at Pinot Grigio - that tiresome white wine that always seems to pop up at events where nobody knows anything about wine so they pick up "whatever" (think company parties), and it's usually some commercial plonk like Barefoot. Now don't get me wrong, there are some producers, usually in Italy, that actually put out some decent Pinot Grigio, but it's hardly a go-to wine.
So, a few Mondays ago, I found myself at the Olde Bar in Bookbinders (now run by the Garces Group), saddling up for a half dozen Buck-a-Shuck oysters at Happy Hour. http://theoldebar.com/menu There also happens to be a bargain prix fixe menu Monday nights so in keeping with the budget theme, I opted for a Happy Hour house white, in this case a Pinot Grigio. My expectations were understandably low - I just wanted something to wash down the oysters and fried calamari. Well, one sip told me this was not your average bland, generic Pinot Grigio. Indeed, this one had zip and sparkle - lively acidity, bright flavors, a bracing palate and altogether mouth appealing structure. It turned out to be of Slovenian origin, specifically from the Brda region - near the Collio border area in northeast Italy. The brand name is Avia, and they produce a whole slew of varietals imported by Laureat Imports, whose portfolio includes several other brands from Slovenia.
I haven't sampled any of the other Avia varietals (a quick search online showed only Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay available in PA stores), but in the meantime, don't hesitate to hightail it down to the Olde Bar for some oysters on the half-shell and a delightful Pinot Grigio that's easy on the wallet and just may make you readjust your opinion of this much maligned wine - like it did me!