Pinot Gris - White Wine Grape

Pinot Gris, the Italians call it Pinot Grigio...

The white Pinot Gris grape is a variant of the red Pinot Noir; the two usually grow alongside each other. Pinot Gris probably originated in the Burgundy region of eastern France. Written references to Pinot varieties date back to the thirteenth century. Pinot Gris occurs in the Burgundy region of eastern France and the Alsace region of western France. It is found in Germany, Italy, Central and Southeast Europe, in Australia, and in the United States, particularly California and Oregon where it is the most widely grown white grape.

Classic Image of Pinot Gris (Pineau Gris) Grapes Pineau gris image first published in Victor Rendu, Ampelographie francaise, comprenant la statistique, la description des meilleurs cepages, l'analyse chimique du sol et les procedes de culture et de vinification des principaux vignobles de la France. [2nd ed.]Paris: Masson, 1857.

Illustration courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, Wine Literature of the World website.

Pinot Gris wines are yellow to golden with a low acid level and a long, dry fruity palate. They are harvested early in Italy, and much later in Alsace and Germany, where they may yield a sweet late-harvest wine. In several countries the varietal label Pinot Gris tends to indicate a full-bodied Alsace or German style wine tasting of bitter almonds, earth, and ginger. In contrast the label Pinot Grigio usually indicates a lighter, dry Italian-style wine. Some bottles of Alsatian Pinot Gris wine may be labeled Tokay or Tokay-Pinot Gris, an old name for this grape. The name change avoids possible conflict with the totally different Hungarian dessert wine, Tokaji Asz˙ (see Furmint).

Enjoy dry Pinot Grigio wines with Mussels, raw Oysters, Salmon, or spicy Chinese food. Enjoy Alsatian Pinot Gris wines with Pork, Veal, Ham and Choucroute - an Alsatian specialty of Sauerkraut cooked with various cuts of Pork.

See I Love Italian Wine and Food - The Umbria Region for a review of a white Italian Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris) wine.

See My Own French Wine Articles for a clickable list of French Pinot Gris wines.

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