Recommendation: The Elena Walch was our favorite from this tasting and is still one of our favorite Pinot Grigio’s.
Winery/Producer: Santa Margherita – Bottled by Santa Margherita; Fossalta Di Portogruaro, Italy. Elena Walch – Produced and bottled by Elena Walch; Tramin, Italy.
Grape Variety: Pinot Grigio.
Geographic Region, Appellation: Santa Margherita – Valdadige, Italy. Elena Walch – Alto Adige
Vintage: Santa Margherita – 2013. Elena Walch – 2012.
Price: Santa Margherita – $22.99. Elena Walch – $$19.80 (with 10% case discount)
Purchased From: Santa Margherita – Harris Teeter Grocery Store; Kernersville, North Carolina. Elena Walch – The Caviste Wine Shop; Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Paired With: Panini sandwiches: ham, Swiss cheese, apricot preserves and Dijon mustard.
He said: We had a long-time Annapolis friend visit for a few days and she was telling us her daughter-in-law really liked Pinot Grigio and always drank Santa Margherita. Well with that said I couldn’t resist a blind tasting of our favorite Pinot Grigio (Elena Walch) and Santa Margherita (which we have had many times in restaurants, but always thought it was over rated and over priced). Both were similar in price, but the Santa Margherita is much more available. In the end it was a very fun tasting and drinking side-by-side glasses of wines is always very revealing.
Both bottles were chilled before opening. Both were crystal clear and surprisingly the same light oat straw color. The Santa Margherita had very slight damp earth and over ripe apple aromas with dusty, dryish flavors that go to a medium-length finish that was quite bitter. The Elena Walch had strong ripe fruit aromas (much more intense than most Pinot Grigio) and a wonderful green apple and pear taste with lots of crispness that led into a long tart mineral finish. The Elena Walch was our favorite from this tasting and is still one of our favorite Pinot Grigio’s. For us the Santa Margherita was one dimensional and the Elena Walch had complex flavors and a smooth crispness that is simply wonderful
She said: Ray set up a blind tasting of two Pinot Grigio wines so we could compare and decide which one we liked best. It was not easy. Although they were very different they were both quite good. To complicate things, the olfactory and gustatory experience seemed to change as we sipped. The Santa Margherita was slightly fragrant but hard to specifically identify. It was medium bodied, dry, and sometimes creamy but ended on a sour note. The Elena Walch had an appealing green apple fragrance from the first sip to the last. It was also medium bodied but had many levels of interest and never had a questionable finish. I lean towards the Elena Walch but enjoyed both wines with lunch as well as sipping afterwards. We didn’t know the price/bottle when we did the tasting but comments were made around the table that if the Santa Margherita was significantly cheaper than the Elena Walch it would be purchased even though the Elena Walch was better. Also, the problem of finding the Elena Walch would be an issue.
Comments: See Elena Walch Castel Ringberg Alto Adige Pinot Grigio for the first tasting review; Elena Walch Castel Ringberg Alto Adige Pinot Grigio for the second tasting review; and also note this made our list of the Best Wines of 2013.
Alcohol: Santa Margherita – 12.5%; Elena Walch – 13%.
Bar code:Santa Margherita – 0 86891 02287 1; Elena Walch – 6 70815 66666 3.
Imported by: Santa Margherita – Terlato Wines International, Lake Bluff, Illinois; Elena Walch – Walch/USA, Sausalito, california.