Pinot grigio with a side of humility

Mental association is an incredible thing. Just think about it a minute: You love the name Daniel, but your husband was beat up in high school by a kid with that name. Guess Junior won’t be called Danny Boy. Or you used to love dishes spiced with cumin… until someone mentioned that it smells like sweaty feet. Next thing you know, Mexican food is ruined for you.

That’s how it is for me with pinot grigio. It was a gateway wine for me — a fruity, sweet wine, perfect for my novice palate… a decade ago. Now when I think of pinot grigio, I think “amateur,” “beginner,” “wimp.” What self-respecting wino drinks pinot grigio? My mom, a non-drinker, loves the stuff! Then Ramona Singer went and drove the nail in the grigio coffin. After watching Ramona slosh through four seasons of “The Real Housewives of NYC” with a bottle of pinot grigio in hand (watch out if you don’t have it at the ready!), I just can’t drink it without feeling the hit to my IQ. (or is the four seasons of “Real Housewives” that does that?)

But a recent Groupon delivery of $10-or-less wines from Wine Insiders included a bottle of pinot grigio, so tonight I decided to swallow my pride, so to speak. The pick was a Twin Bridges 2009 Pinot Grigio (San Martin, Calif.), and I thought it would go well with the peppery rub on my barbecued pork chop.

The aroma made me hesitate – is that grapefruit and honey I smell? Whoo boy, this is gonna be rough! (For those who are new to my blog, I hate overly sweet drinks. I drink my iced tea with lemon, my coffee black and my wine dry.)

But you know, life is about second chances and having an open mind. And in this case, it paid off. The blend of citrus and honey is refreshing, not heavy. Its mouthfeel is light and fleeting, and there’s an intriguing floral note in the taste, not at all syrupy. And yes, it went perfectly with the pork rub!

One of my biggest complaints with white wines is the pucker factor. So many whites — sauvignon blancs being the biggest culprit — are too tart. They make my mouth pucker. And that is NOT a good look on me. The Twin Bridges pinot grigio is totally sans a pucker factor. And it’s my new best friend… at least while the temperature is topping 90. Once it cools down, I’ll return to my beloved reds. Until then, I do believe I’ll refill my glass and channel my inner Ramona. How much are flights to the Hamptons?

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