I honestly don't think you can go wrong with Columbia Crest. It's astonishing that they manage to produce two tiers of inexpensive wine in such large quantities at such high quality. They seem to own the Washington Merlot table wine market with their Grand Estates Merlot, and the fame at having their 2006 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon picked as #1 by Wine Spectator obviously isn't harming their over-all reputation for quality and price point miracles.
This particular Columbia Crest Grand Estates Pinot Grigio was an impulse buy, since we were looking for a wine to go with dinner, and hadn't tried it. We found it at a local Fred Meyer for a mere $6.99. In the glass, this Pinot Grigio is a pretty straw color, verging on light gold in the glass, and has a noticeably fragrant aroma. I know I'm suppose to talk about floral notes, but honestly, there was a hint of something like honey, or possibly caramel, on the nose. Shoot me if you must; but I swear it's there. The flavor is crisp, and mild, and a bit like barely ripe white peaches, with a hint of slightly sweetened rhubarb in the finish (maybe I'm not cut out for wine reviews . . . ). It was a perfect summer wine combination with lightly fried skinless chicken breast, and fresh dill potato salad. We're planning on trying Columbia Crest Grand Estates Pinot Grigio with dolmades as a light first course. It's a 12.5 ABV.
I noticed (how did I miss this?) that Columbia Crest now offers Pinot Grigio in their first tier Two Vines wines. I'll definitely be trying it as well. The Press Release, for the curious, is here.