The Grape Escape: A Brünnhilde of a pinot gris

The last time we met over a glass of wine, we were talking about pinot gris and pinot grigio, and how you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a princess in this currently with-it category of varietal wine.

Today let’s take a quick look at a California pinot gris that clearly qualifies as a princess, although in fairness, I would add that intensity, heft and stunning alcohol content makes this princess something like Brünnhilde, the Valkyrie princess of Norse legend, famously portrayed by a massive soprano in Wagnerian opera.

J Vineyards 2009 California Pinot Gris ($15.99)

This is a transparent, straw colored wine, with attractive aromas of pink grapefruit and ripe pears. The pear character is more evident on the palate, where it’s juicy and fresh, but structured with zippy acidity that shimmers in a lingering finish. The 14.4-percent alcohol is pushing it, but in fairness, it’s not obvious in the flavor ... take care, however, especially if you’re driving, when the flavorful wine tempts you to a second or third glass. It’s big enough to accompany poultry or pork, and it made a great pairing with baked bluefish and potatoes, Genoese style.