Fat and spicy, or crisp and light? Pinot Gris/Grigio can turn its hand to both styles with aplomb.
No wonder more and more Pinot Gris is being planted around the world. Winemakers love it for its malleable character – they can make it light or heavy, oaked or unoaked – while wine drinkers appreciate its food-friendly nature.
Although this aromatic, exotic member of the Pinot family can be found in a variety of locations, the wines it makes in each can be quite different. Alsace and northeast Italy represent the extremes of style.
The two extremes of Pinot Gris are found in northeast Italy and Alsace. Italian Pinot Grigio is pale, crisp and bone dry, with many wines being alarmingly neutral. In contrast, Alsace Pinot Gris is much deeper in color, and has abundant musky, peachy fruit and often a touch of sweetness.
Both styles are mimicked in various points around the world – often the choice of calling the wine Gris or Grigio hints at which style the producer is seeking. For the crisper, lighter style, try wines from Australia and Austria; for richer versions, look to Oregon and Central Otago, New Zealand.
Pinot Gris also goes by the names Grauburgunder and Ruländer.
My bottle of Alsace Pinot Gris says Vendange Tardive – what does that mean?
Late Harvest, indicating a fuller, usually sweeter style.