If I were looking for a wine to put training wheels on, it would be Luna Nuda's Pinot Grigio.
That is not a knock on the Northern Italian import. Far from it.
Luna Nuda -- an Italian phrase for "naked moon," referring to a clear, bright moonlit night -- is best known for its Pinot Grigios and Chiantis.
I just sampled its 2015 Pinot Grigio, offered at 12.5% abv.
Bottom line, I liked it. But, a few lines before that I came away slightly perplexed.
It looks like most of its ilk, with the signature pale straw color and familiar floral and peach notes. But, it also has a slightly more pronounced acidic edge and a certain yeastiness, both no doubt due to several months of sur lie aging this winemaker likes to employ.
(For those unfamiliar with the process: Lees -- the English pronunciation for the French "lies" -- refers to deposits of dead or residual yeast and other particles that are carried to the bottom of a vat of wine. In sur lie aging, a finished wine is allowed to continue to sit on the lees to extract additional flavors.)
Oh, the training wheels observation? My tasting companion sparked that thought when she said, "This is a nice introduction to Pinot Grigio for people experiencing it for the first time."
Agreed. It's an inexpensive starting point, priced in the $12-$15 range compared to the $21-27 typical of category sales leader Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, produced in the same Alto Adige area of Italy as Luna Nuda. Santa Margherita, by the way, quickly became the gold standard import since it was introduced here by Anthony Terlato in 1979.
Back to that bottom line: Luna Nuda is clean, crisp and immediately drinkable, and at an affordable price. Pop on the wheels, pop the cork, and enjoy.