Wine Time

Celebrity Wine: Tasting Notes for (Drew) Barrymore Pinot Grigio

According to the Decordi winery's Web site, "the 2011 Barrymore Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie IGT is a dry and fruity wine made with grapes from the Veneto, Friuli and South Tyrol regions."

The Decordi winemaking facility is located in Cremona (in the region of Lombardy), a two-hour drive -- minimum -- from the regions where the grapes are grown.

In the light of this fact, it's no wonder that the wine we tasted last night -- the 2011 Pinot Grigio delle Venezie bottled under the (Drew) Barrymore label -- was heavily acidified. It was so acidic, in fact, that both my wife Tracie P and I remarked that it tasted like pure lemon juice with a chemical finish.

When grapes have to travel that far to the facility where they will be vinified, the resulting wine is often "corrected" in the cellar through the application of chemicals, in this case, probably the addition of tartaric acid.

Since I first expressed an interest in tasting the wine, I've corresponded with a publicist from Wilson Daniels, the importer, and a publicist from id-pr, "a boutique publicity firm [that] has evolved into the intersection of entertainment public relations and brand communications." (Both offered to send me a sample, but I went instead to Kroger on Buffalo Speedway and picked up a bottle for $19.99).

The marketer from id-pr is confident that, when she has time, Barrymore herself will answer the questions I've submitted via e-mail. Here are the queries I sent:

Why did you decide to do a white (as opposed to ramato) Pinot Grigio?

What wines/wineries were the models for this wine?

Where, specifically, are the vineyards where the fruit is sourced for this wine?

According to Wilson Daniels, they are located in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino Alto Adige and Veneto.

Can you give me any more specific information?

Have you ever visited the vineyards?

What's your relationship to the growers?

Do you know any of them personally?

What's your relationship to the winemaker, the Decordi family?

How did you meet the family?

What I should have asked is: Have you ever tasted the wine?

Should Barrymore (or her "team") decide to answer me, I'll be happy to post the answers here.

My wife and I are big fans of Drew Barrymore. We literally grew up with her movies and the one time we saw her and her then fiancé, in a restaurant in LA earlier this year, we were thrilled. She and her movies are a thread in the fabric of our lives.

But to borrow a phrase from Mike Wallace, come on...

When I visited Kroger to pick up the bottle earlier this week, I was helped by wine department director Janice Gadbois, who really does a superb job at this flagship location.

I couldn't find the Barrymore in the ample Pinot Grigio section, and so I had her paged. She appeared immediately and directed me to the Italian section, home to the Barrymore wine.

She also pointed me to the Ramona Singer Pinot Grigio, noting that "if you're interested in the Barrymore Pinot Grigio, you might also like the Ramona Singer." I didn't know who Ramona Singer was, but I was impressed with Janice's excellent salespersonship (if you shop at that Kroger, it's worth talking to Janice because she really knows the selection well).

Honestly, I was overwhelmed by the number of Pinot Grigio bottlings available at Kroger and I was surprised by some of the bargains I found there for wines that I really like (beyond the Pinot Grigio section).

I was disappointed by Barrymore's debut, especially considering the price. But I'll look forward to tasting the wine again next year when the 2012 vintage arrives.

In the meantime, I feel compelled to tell you to avoid this bottling.

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Jeremy Parzen writes about wine and modern civilization for the Houston Press. A wine trade marketing consultant by day, he is also an adjunct professor at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont, Italy. He spends his free time writing and recording music with his daughters and wife in Houston.
Contact: Jeremy Parzen