Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are two quite distinct wines styles made from the same grape. It is a white grape variety – a mutation from Pinot Noir – that develops a greyish coppery colour at full ripeness.
Styles are based on the country of origin – Pinot Gris in the French style is picked riper producing a richer, more full-bodied wine – often with some barrel fermentation to add texture and mouthfeel. These are great food wines and match well with roast chicken, fish and even pork or veal. This is a very important variety in the Alsace region of northeastern France near the Swiss-German border.
Pinot Gris is the most popular dry white wine in the USA after chardonnay. Pinot Grigio is the style of northern Italy. It is picked earlier and as such is paler and lighter bodied. It has more acidity and is a crisper more refreshing style. It is a perfect wine as a pre-dinner drink matched with antipasti, cold seafood, salads or Asian cuisine. The best Pinot Gris and Grigio are made in cool climates – in Australia think Mornington, Adelaide Hills and Tasmania. Some great Pinot Gris is coming out of New Zealand too.
It is a grape that can be enhanced by the influence of the vineyard and the winemaker to produce a style they prefer. Makes for much fun and interest and at XO Cellars we can help you find the style you prefer.