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Weekend wines: Try a $14 fruit-driven white from Oregon

Igor Dutina / Featurepics.com

Erath's 2011 Pinot Gris, a fruit-driven white, is surprisingly complex for its low price tag.

Oregon is famous for its pinot noirs, but the lesser-known pinot gris is the state’s signature white, often producing fruity, easy-to-drink wines that can be enjoyed with a wide range of foods.

The grape, which many people are more familiar with as pinot grigio, is a chameleon, producing very different wines depending on where it is grown, including northern Italy, the Alsace region of France, Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

Erath’s newly released 2011 Oregon Pinot Gris is fresh and bright with surprising complexity for its $14 price. It’s loaded with ripe fruit tastes, including pear, pineapple, touches of banana and honey and a good deal of citrus, especially lemon and orange. A mineral note gives it nice complexity and adds to the impressively long finish. Like most pinot gris, it’s made without oak. Alcohol is 13 percent.

This is a great all-around white in a clean, fruit-driven style that makes it easy to pair with many foods, from simple fish and chicken dishes to roast pork and even Asian foods. Try it as an aperitif as well.

Erath’s history in the Dundee Hills of the Willamette Valley goes back more than four decades, making it one of Oregon’s oldest modern wineries. It’s also one of Oregon’s largest and was sold by founder Dick Erath six years ago to Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the big Washington wine company. Wine received as a press sample.

A few weeks ago, after my review of Andrea Bocelli’s Tuscan red, a number of readers asked for the recipe for my tomato and sausage pasta sauce. I’ve now posted it here on Vint-ed.com. 

Edward Deitch is a James Beard Award-winning wine critic. Find many more of his wine reviews and commentary on his blog, Vint-ed.com, and follow him on Twitter.

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