Pinot gris is a bit of a diva.
That's how Elizabeth Grant-Douglas of La Crema sees it.
Grant-Douglas is the winemaker behind our wine-of-the-week winner, the La Crema 2012 Monterey Pinot Gris, 13.5 percent at $20.
La Crema, owned by Santa Rosa's Jackson Family Wines, produced a floral pinot gris with delicate notes of pear, white peach and mineral. It's elegant, lush and layered, with a nice length.
As for the varietal's diva tendencies, Grant-Douglas said "the grape requires gentle handling in order to be at its best like its close relative, pinot noir ... While many consider pinot gris a simple, easy-drinking summer wine, it can also offer a lot of complexity."
Making a knockout pinot gris requires delicate handling, in this case hand-picking the grapes and fermenting them very slowly, Grant-Douglas said.
"There are so many similarities between pinot noir and pinot gris that our long-term focus on pinot noir really comes into play," Grant-Douglas said. "We've always specialized in these delicate, cool-climate varietals and have learned, sometimes the hard way, how to coax the most flavor from these grapes."
Grant-Douglas joined La Crema as an enologist in 2001 and became winemaker in 2010. She's originally from Niagara Falls, Canada, and she worked at Canadian wineries that include Inniskillin, Chateau des Charmes and Thirteenth Street before heading to Washington and, finally, the Sonoma Coast.
Grant-Douglas has a degree in cool climate oenology and viticulture from Brock University and also an economics degree from the University of Waterloo.
Just when did wine romance Grant-Douglas?