Until recently, we liked Pinot Grigio, but we didn’t love it. But then we tasted wine from the master, Pinot Grigio Specialist Albino Armani in Italy. Now we love it. At a webinar with this Pinot Grigio expert, we discovered that the name Albino Armani has its roots in 400 years of passion for wine. Hence, the full name, Albino Armani Viticoltori dal 1607. Today, his family owns five estates, comprising of 330 hectares of vineyards. The wines are divine. And they’re available in the U.S. Read on to learn more.
Albino Armani Story
Albino and Egle Armani represent 16 generations of winegrowers in northern Italy. As mentioned, Albino’s family has been growing grapes since 1607. Meanwhile, Albino has worked on 42 vintages, starting on harvests when he was very young. He is also the President of the Pinot Grigio delle Venezie consortium.
His family vineyards produce more than 750 acres of grapes in three major Italian wine-growing regions: Veneto, Trentino and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. While the soil is different in each, all are located in a cool climate in the mountains.
Moreover, Albino Armani has a comprehensive view of environmental sustainability and production in harmony with nature. Since 2019, all his vineyards have been certified SQNPI – National Quality System for Integrated Production. The SQNPI is a national certification that aims to help agricultural ecosystems to monitor and reduce environmental impact. This consists of reducing the use of synthetic chemicals and rationalizing all agronomic practices such as fertilization and irrigation.
Eighty-five percent of Italy’s production of Pinot Grigio comes from these three regions, also known collectively as Triveneto. In 2017, Triveneto received DOC status, and today is called Delle Venezia DOC. It’s the largest appellation in Europe. As well, the Triveneto is home to almost 50% of worldwide Pinot Grigio production. Another fun fact — almost 40% of Italian Pinot Grigio is exported to the U.S.
Albino Armani Wines
During the webinar, hosted and translated by Susannah Gold at Vigneto Communications, we could see Albino’s passion for Pinot Grigio. He noted that the Triveneto area is particularly ideal for Pinot Grigio, which thrives in cool climates, with temperature swings between day and night. According to Albino, Pinot Grigio coming from warmer regions has a different aromatic profile and often lacks acidity and complexity.
We tasted four wines from the portfolio of this Pinot Grigio expert. Overall, we enjoyed each one. However, our favorite was Colle Ara. Albino told us this is a “true, ancient expression of Pinot Grigio.” In fact, we loved Colle Ara so much, we’ve already purchased three more bottles, as you can see in the above photo.
Pinot Grigio Colle Ara Valdadige Terradeiforti DOC (SRP $21.99)
Yes, we were wowed by Albino Armani Colle Ara, which is a pretty gold rosé or copper color. Colle Ara is full-bodied with aromas and flavors of peaches, apricots, grapefruit and pomegranates. On the palate, we also loved the salinity and minerality. The pink Pinot Grigio grapes are cold macerated on their skins, which creates the gold rosé color and good structure. This is a smooth white wine that Albino says pairs well with romance, in addition to Asian dishes, spicy foods and smoked salmon.
Pinot Grigio Corvara Valdadige DOC (SRP $14.99)
In the southern part of Valdadige, intense temperature shifts and constant winds create an ideal location for the cultivation of Pinot Grigio. Albino Armani Corvara also entices with intriguing notes of pears, limes, herbs and stone fruit. As a result of the terroir and long fermentation in stainless steel, layers of minerality appeal to our palates. We adored this wine too. It’s a complex Pinot Grigio that complements Mediterranean pasta, fish tacos, pulled pork and poultry dishes.
Pinot Grigio Friulana Grave DOC (SRP $12.99)
This elegant and expressive Pinot Grigio is an incredible value. The soil from Friulana mainly consists of white river stones dragged down by the flooding of alpine brooks. This, along with fermentation and maturation in stainless steel tanks, brings a fresh minerality to the wine. Aromatics of stone fruit, citrus and pineapples lead into rounded flavors of apples, peaches and nectarines, with some salinity. Friulana Grave pairs well with vegetarian dishes and seafood.
Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie DOC (SRP $11.99)
This is a refreshing Pinot Grigio that provides easy drinking by the lake with prosciutto and melon during pleasant afternoons. It also pairs with seafood or roasted chicken all year round. The wine’s flavors mirror the nose: pears, limes, apples and peaches. This Pinot Grigio is dry yet creamy, with grapes sourced from some of the Armani’s best vineyards. This wine is food friendly and wallet friendly too.
Summary: Albino Armani
In conclusion, Albino Armani made us rethink our opinion about Pinot Grigio. These wines are not the same as Pinot Grigio coming from warmer regions, which often lacks acidity and complexity.
In a word, Albino Armani Pinot Grigio is magnificent. And the good news – these beautiful Pinot Grigios are available at Total Wine in the U.S. We’ve already purchased some bottles at one of the Seattle stores.
Finally, many thanks to Albino Armani and Susannah Gold at Vigneto Communications for the samples, the introduction and the education.
Margot and Dave