Pinot Grigio Under $15

A collection of value Pinot Grigios that wont hurt your wallet


One thing you learn quickly when you get to taste as many wines as I do is that there is only a loose correlation between price and quality. Paying more for a wine certainly doesn’t guarantee a better wine, but when you move from one price point to another you can at least hope that the average score of the relative groups will justify the price differential.

With Pinot Grigio, that is certainly true. This group of wines, ranging from just under $10 to about $15, is really a nice representation of what to expect at this price point. There are a few winners, wines that can easily compete with bottles costing 50 percent more, but there are also a lot of duds here. Sometimes when we spend a little less hoping to save money, we end up with a lot less wine for our money. Shop carefully and you’ll see that there are many values to be found in Pinot Grigio under $15 a bottle.

These wines are bursting with the trademark fresh fruit and bright character we all love in our Pinot Grigio. Even some $10 bottles can be delicious, but at this price point there are too many pitfalls to ignore, so shop carefully!

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2011 Albino Armani Corvara Pinot Grigio Valdadige 12.5% $15

Softly fragrant on the nose with some light herb spice notes accenting the apricot, lime pith and heirloom apple fruit. Very clear and fresh in the mouth with integrated acidity supporting a slightly rounded mouthfeel. There’s plenty of fresh fruit here, simple and pure with notes of pear and apricot brightening with a touch of lime pith on the back end. This is a modestly rich, nicely dry example of Pinot Grigio with some really attractive mineral and almond notes adding detail to the moderately long finish. This is rather refined and complex for Pinot Grigio. 89pts

2011 Willow Crest Pinot Gris Yakima Valley 13% $15

Hugely aromatic with some sulfur that needs to blow off. Under that this has intense citrus, passion fruit and melon aromas. Nicely balanced in the mouth and a bit towards the round side of things but with nice cut and a light mineral edge to the fruit. The intensity found on the nose does not quite translate to the palate, though this does have a lovely tangerine, honeydew and lightly exotic tropical fruit profile which is delightful if not terribly varietal. More apple fruit pops on the back end and settles in on the moderately long finish. This is a lovely rendition of Pinot Gris. 89pts

2010 Bargetto Regan Vineyard Pinot Grigio Santa Cruz Mtns 14.5% $15

Dry and dusty on the nose with lots of apple core and mineral aromas topped with a little sage and sorrel herbiness. Dry, small-scaled and precise on entry, this is a nicely scaled wine with richness and good acidity lending excellent balance. The flavors run towards Asian pear and heirloom apples here, with a little cashew thrown in for good measure. This finishes cleanly with more orchard fruit flavors that gain a light sweetness. 87pts

2011 Santi Sortesele Pinot Grigio Delle Venezia 12.5% $12

Light and fresh on the nose with a mineral water top note over a nice base of citrus and green apple with a hint of peach. There’s plenty to like here with juicy, mouthwatering acidity balanced by an edge of fleshiness. Succulent flavors of green apple, dried lemon pith and a touch of apricot all come together on the palate and play out on the rather long finish, which shows slight sweetness balancing out the acidity. A bit simple but well put together. 87pts

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Top Pinot Grigio Under $15

Armani Pinot Grigio Valdadige DOC Vigneto Corvara (2011)
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Willow Vineyard Pinot Gris Leelanau Peninsula (2011)
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Bargetto Regan Vineyard Pinot Grigio (2010)
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Santi Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie Sortesele (2011)
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Innocent Bystander Pinot Gris Yarra Valley (2011)
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Pighin Friuli Grave Pinot Grigio (2010)
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Brezza Dell Umbria Bianco Igt. Lungarotti (2011)
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Mcmanis Family Vineyards Mcmanis Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio (2011)
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Forchir Pinot Grigio Friuli Villa del Borgo (2011)
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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: dhcwine
    810660 8

    Sure would be nice if publications like yours could help us begin to trade our customers up not always down...

    Aug 21, 2012 at 3:54 PM

  • Snooth User: Drew458
    1039882 1

    Oh puh-leez dhcwine; most of the time Snooth is pushing $40+ wines and often $80+ wines that very few of us can afford.

    Nor am I all that sure that Snooth is an industry owned shill. Maybe they just want people to appreciate more wine. Ok, that's naive of me, of course they're a shill. So tell me, Mr. Wine Store owner, which would you rather have - the weekly $15 customer or the once a month $45 customer?

    Wine is a gamble, every bottle of every vintage of every variety at every price point. I'd much rather take a $10 risk or a $15 risk for a smaller payout tonight than a $75 risk that I have to carefully cellar for a decade before finding out that I've been suckered. I've been burned too many times ... and there are so many labels out there that almost NOTHING of what Snooth pushes is actually on my local store's shelves. But other wines from that region and vintage may be, so if I feel the drive to try something new and different, Snooth's advice can at least lead me in the (fingers crossed!) right direction.

    It's better than certain wine review "names", where every bottle of goat-lick seems to earn a 90 to 92 rating, when in reality most should have a 69 to 70 ratingor lower. But that doesn't sell wines does it? Calling the plonk the plonk?

    Aug 21, 2012 at 4:41 PM

  • What works for me is reading so I understand the landscape, developing a relationship with two or three wine shops and trust. One shop I've found is batting 1000 on the wines I have purchased. I know this will not last but his care in wine buying is making me a very satisfied customer. Anyway, hits and misses is part of the fun...regardless of price. There are thousands of wines out there.

    Aug 21, 2012 at 11:55 PM

  • I tend to be on dhcwine's side in this particular PINOT GRIGIO discussion, as I find the best examples from North East Italy, Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and Slovenia are tending to come in the £12.50 upwards category here in London. Adjusting for taxes and ex rates thats about 15 plus.
    Yet I agree with Drew458 about not needing more $80 92pt wines to store until - one day - we are too dead to drink them!
    There is huge variation in the cheap pinot category. A clue is if the wine is clear, almost watery, that tends to be its taste. we also find all Alto Adiges worth drinking. Present fave is Tiefenbrunner's 2011. In friuli the wines have even more length complexity and exotics going on in the top examples./
    Has anyone found an Australian Pinot Grigio that isnt too tart and acidic yet?

    Aug 22, 2012 at 4:42 AM

  • Pinot Grigio makes it to America in droves. I feel with so much good Pinot Gris coming from Oregon and Washington why bother with much of the watered down Italians anyways.

    Aug 23, 2012 at 3:34 PM

  • I now see Innocent Bystander listed - which will be from Australia. Thanks.

    Dumb question time. Like Bacchustravels I love Pinot Gris - except in my case from the Alsace. Is it the same grape, as makes watery Italian wine for the kind office get-togethers that have me rushing to leave at 4.30, or pizza places where the wine list leaves one nothing to hope for?

    Aug 24, 2012 at 5:19 AM

  • I agree Drew458. I'm always looking to try something new but I skip over Barefoot, Yellowtail, Cupcake, Little Black Dress, Fat Bastard and Big Truck (seriously) wines. Snooth is a great way to try something new and $15 bottles are great ways for newbies to start developing a palate.

    Aug 25, 2012 at 1:41 PM

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