Wine Grape Cheat Sheets – Pinot Gris
August 28, 2012 3 Comments
Pinot Gris, known to most of the world as the delightful if somewhat over-exposed Italian Wine called Pinot Grigio, is renowned for its crisp, fruity, vaguely floral and aromatic wines from Northern Italy. The variety known as Pinot Grigio is the “same grape-different name” as the grape variety Pinot Gris and goes by many other aliases as well. Pinot Gris aka Grigio is successfully grown in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Hungary, and is being planted with increasing popularity in The New World. The grape got the name “Pinot Gris” in France because of its grayish-white fruit and is believed to be a natural mutation of Pinot Noir.
- Light to medium bodied
- Almost always fruity, with lemon-lime-citrus aromas common in the Italian version, and tropical fruit-tree fruit aromas typical of the “New World” and Alsatian style.
- Very often stainless steel cold fermented.
- Generally crisp, acidic, and refreshing.
- Italian Pinot Grigio is often described as “Sauvignon Blanc without the grassy quality”.
- Pinot Gris from Alsace and Oregon tends to be more full bodied as well as a bit smoother than the Italian style or version, and is often compared to unoaked Chardonnay. (The Bubbly Professor agrees with this comparison, but thinks that Pinot Gris has a “waxier, creamier and smoother” style than Chablis, for instance.)
- A late harvest, dessert wine called “Vendage Tardive” is made from Pinot Gris in the French Region of Alsace. Late harvest and “Vin de Glacerie” styles have also been spotted in Oregon.
Typical Aromas of a Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio-Based Wine:
- Fruity: Peach, Dried Peach, Apricot, Lemon, Lime, Tangerine, Fresh-cut Pears, Green Apple, Melon, Tropical Fruit, Kiwi, Mango, Citrus
- Floral: Wildflowers, Blossoms, Honey
- Herbal: Thyme, Oregano, Lemongrass
- Mineral: Wet Stones, Wet Sand
- Italy, especially in the Northern Regions of Venezia, Fruili, and Alto-Adige
- The Alsatian Region of France
- The cooler wine growing regions of Europe such as Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
- California, especially Napa and Santa Barbara
- Oregon, where it shines!
Food Affinities – Base Ingredients:
- Seafood, Smoked Seafood, Seafood Salads
- Vegetarian Dishes
- Fried Foods such as fried calamari, fried clams, and fried zucchini
Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Zucchini, Hors d’oeurves
Cream Sauces, Sour Cream
Citrus, Subtle Vinaigrettes, Capers, Green Olives
Basil, Tarragon, and just about all Herbs
Bell Peppers, Roasted Fennel, Garlic, Onions, Shallots
Toasted Pine Nuts
Ricotta Cheese, Mozzarella Cheese
The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas