Pinot Gris: An International Superstar
Pinot Grigio, AKA Pinot Gris, is a French wine grape adopted in many wine regions worldwide. The varietal is a pink-skinned mutation of the famous Pinot Noir, and so is Pinot Blanc, but its pale skin makes it suitable for making white wine. Even though Pinot Gris is typically dry, producers can also make sweet and aromatic Pinot Gris wines.
When young, Pinot Gris has aromas of almonds and nuts combined with the fruitiness of pineapples, citrus fruits, pears, and dried fruit. And although some producers might age their Pinot Gris wines in oak, the practice is not common. Whether Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio, we’re talking about the same young, uncomplicated wines.
Every wine lover should know about Pinot Gris, as it is as noble as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, or Riesling. Wines made with the grape are often highly scored in any wine-tasting scenario.
Where is Pinot Gris Produced?
Although native to Burgundy, you won’t find Pinot Gris vines in the wine region. Alsace, a northern French appellation for premium white wines, considers Pinot Gris a noble varietal, and growers in the area make the best examples of the grape.
Pinot Grigio was also widely adopted in Northern Italy, where it produces crisp, fruity wines. The noble grape has also found a home in the New World, mainly in the United States: California, Oregon, and Washington. Australia and Chile also have significant Pinot Gris vineyard plantings. Every other winery in Germany and Austria produces Pinot Gris as well, known as Grauburgunder wein.
What Does Pinot Gris Taste Like?
Pinot Gris is a white wine with a pale straw color and copper hints. On the nose, expect peach, stone fruit aromas, and tropical fruit scents if grown in warm weather. Floral notes are also typical, and the palate is often infused with minerality. Pinot Gris is an acidic grape, so the wines made with it are always refreshing, with medium alcohol and a persistent aftertaste.
Sweet versions might offer scents of dried fruit, toasted nuts, and yellow flowers. Interestingly, Pinot Gris has become a source of orangewine and vin natural, the trendiest wine styles today.
Pinot Gris Food Pairings
Pinot Gris has tight, noticeable acidity as it grows in cold climates. The wines can be mineral and sometimes quite textural as well. Pinot Gris is an ideal partner for seafood, from white fish to shellfish and everything in between. Since wines made with the grape are relatively neutral, you can pair Pinot Gris with various foods.
If you choose a late harvest Pinot Gris, in other words, a sweet and fruity version, Pinot Gris wine is an excellent accompaniment to a variety of desserts and cheeses. With the right wines, you can pair the grape variety with an entire menu.
Pinot Gris in a Nutshell
Pinot Gris can be labeled as such, or Pinot Grigio, but the wine is always similar. Of course, the terroir of any given wine region infuses the wine with its personality. Pinot Grigio is one of those ‘first to market’ wines, which means it is on the shelves within 4-12 weeks after fermentation. The wine rarely spends a long time in the cellar, so it should be opened and consumed while still young.
Wine lovers rejoice; Pinot Gris can elevate your dining experience, which means it’s wine o’clock; wine time is here, so let’s pop open a few bottles of vino.
Date for the diary:
Pinot Gris Day is on May 17.
Want to read more about Pinot Gris? Try reading these books!
Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours. Jancis Robinson 2012
Wine. Years. People. Events. Massandra Wine Collection 2010
The World Atlas of Wine: 8th Edition. Johnson, H & Robinson, J. 2019