Wine Blogging Wednesday #20 – Calona Artist’s Series Pinot Gris

April 12, 2006

The theme for this month’s WBW (hosted by the fine folks at Podcast: Wine for Newbies) is “Anything But Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling”. That keeps the field pretty open. Or so you’d think. Looking back over my notes, I realize that I don’t often venture outside of those three grapes. So this was a great opportunity to try something different, namely Pinot Gris. Or more specifically, a nice affordable Canadian Pinot Gris.

To veer off-topic for a bit, Calona Vineyards (from BC’s Okanagan Valley) makes a wide variety of affordable and tasty VQA wines, including one range called the Artist’s Series. This brand pairs labels painted by local artists with a number of different wines. It’s a great way for BC artists to get some wider exposure outside of their local audience. And the wines are pretty good for the price (especially their Chardonnay).

So to conclude my quest, I chose their Artist’s Series VQA Pinot Gris. While the 2004 is on the market now, I could only find the 2003 Artist Series Pinot Gris at my local MLCC. No big deal. I paid my $13.69 + tax and headed home.

In the glass, it was pale yellow with a greenish tinge. The nose? Apples. Lots and lots of Granny Smith apples. This isn’t a bad thing, but this is a wine best left to apple fans. Luckily, I love apples. My wife, who isn’t so fond of them, did not like this wine.

I began to realize where this was heading. In the mouth, I again found some crisp green apples, a bit of pumpkin pie (?) and a hint of some minerals on the (short) finish. Interestingly enough, that’s exactly what the winemaker’s notes suggested, although I didn’t read the notes until after I had tasted the wine.

On the whole, I was underwhelmed. Yes, it was very nice. And no, there was nothing wrong with it. But nothing made me want to rush out and buy another bottle. It just didn’t excite me that much.

So if one is looking for a good Canadian Pinot Gris, I would recommend the Tinhorn Creek Pinot Gris (around $18-19 at most private stores) over the Calona any day. Or I’d go for the excellent Sandhill Pinot Gris ($16 at the MLCC). Sandhill was originally owned by Calona before both were bought by Andrés Wines Ltd.


  1. Looks like you made the Flagstone website


  2. Wow. That is a huge surprise. I’ll have to celebrate by opening another fine bottle of Fish Hoek.

    Thanks for letting me know!

  3. No problem, I bookmarked their site after your blog, revisited and it hit me in the face. Pretty cool.

  4. I came across your blog today, and enjoyed reading some of your posts.
    Glad to see you like the Pinot Gris. I think it is, on average, the best white wine. It’s much fruitier than chardonnay and riesling.

    I also have my own Pinot Gris Blog

    Also, check out the pinot gris website @ http://www.pinotgris.net

    Keep up the good work,

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