Honestly, when I walked into a Kroger in Houston the other day to pick up a bottle of the 2011 [Drew] Barrymore Pinot Grigio to review for the Houston Press, I had no idea that there would be a Pinot Grigio section at the supermarket (if you don’t know Kroger, it’s like Ralph’s in California or Gristedes in NYC).
And as much as I was surprised by some of the European offerings at Kroger (much better than at Ralph’s, where California dominates), I was simply overwhelmed by the selection: Menage à Trois, Middle Sister, Gnarly Head, Naked Grape, Be… Who are these people and why do they make wine?
The question is as rhetorical as the answer is obvious.
Pinot Grigio has become a lucrative brand in the United States, a misappropriation and colonization of an Italian grape variety.
Italians created the Pinot Grigio mania in the 1980s, marketing their wines to Americans. But they’ve been trumped at their own game.
I really wanted to like Drew Barrymore’s wine. After all, I like Drew Barrymore, the brand, and I imagined that the wine would be in line with the standard bearers of Italian Pinot Grigio, clean and fresh, however anonymous and forgettable.
I’m sorry to report that I was deeply disappointed.