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Abbazia di Novacella Pinot Grigio


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Abbazia di Novacella Pinot Grigio: a Review

Wine is as good as life to a man, if it be drunk moderately: what life is then to a man that is without wine? for it was made to make men glad.
    —Ecclesiasticus, ch. 38, v. 1

(Our sample bottle was purchased by us at standard retail.)


About Abbazia di Novacella Pinot Grigio

The Abbazia di Novacella is a functioning Augustinian abbey, founded in 1142; as part of their activities to support themselves, the monks have long been producers of wine—wines, notably whites, of world-class quality. Novacello is a town located in the very northern part of Italy, an area really much more German than Italian.

The distinction between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio is one of nominal style, since they are of the same grape. Pinot Grigios tend to be more acidic, crisper, while Pinot Gris are more rounded or even "creamy". It is interesting that the Abbazia describes their Pinot Grigio (the more usual Italian styling) as made from Ruländer grapes, Ruländer being the German name for the Pinot Gris grape. Abbazia di Novacella Pinot Grigio is a blend of 2/3 unoaked and 1/3 oaked.

Abbazia di Novacella Pinot Grigio is quite widely available in the U.S. retail market, going at prices from $16 up to as much as $25; the average price (per Wine Searcher Pro) is about $21.


Abbazia di Novacella Pinot Grigio: Tasting Impressions

The nose was modest, the body medium. What this wine delivered far and away the most of was sheer minerality. The acids were quite moderate, especially for a Pinot Grigio, and the fruit-floral notes, while present, were rather muted.

As Lettie Teague (of The Wall Street Journal) has pointed out, Pinot Grigio that isn't bland and watery is hard to find; thus, any PG that isn't watery and has some personality will necessarily stand out. The Abbazia di Novacella Pinot Grigio is one of those standouts, but that does not in itself necessarily make it an outstanding wine (it's easy to seem a giant when you walk among pygmies). We felt it was a decent wine, pleasant drinking, but—especially at its price point—not an example one couldn't best.

We repeat that this was a pleasant wine, but sheer minerality is available elsewhere at less cost. Meanwhile, while this may be a matter of personal taste, we feel that the grape better expresses what it has to give when rendered as Pinot Gris (as by, for example, Trimbach in Alsace, or the little-heralded but fine Willow Crest from Washington State).


Abbazia di Novacella Pinot Grigio: Other Opinions

On CellarTracker.

On Wine Searcher's Tasting Notes page.

Of some major wine-review sites:


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