It is one of the most popular white wines in the world. It’s also an excellent choice for any occasion and goes perfectly with various foods.
If you’re new to Pinot Grigio or looking for something new to try this season, here’s what you need to know about Pinot Grigio that will help you choose which kind works best for your tastes and lifestyle:
A Brief History Of Pinot Grigio
The origins of Pinot Gris, or Pinot Grigio, can be found in Burgundy’s Middle Ages.
By the 1300s, Pinot Gris’s popularity, known initially as Tokay d’Alsace, had extended from Burgundy to Switzerland.
The Pinot Gris grape was prevalent in Burgundy and Champagne until the nineteenth century. Unfortunately, the location produced unstable crops, which caused the wine grape to lose favor.
In the twentieth century, vine breeders created a clone varietal with a more consistent yield.
In 1961, a winemaker in Santa Margherita, northern Italy, made the first pink Pinot Grigio grapes into white wine, and thus the Italian Pinot Grigio was born.
Around 2005, Pinot Gris began to reclaim its global reputation, particularly the Pinot Grigio varietal and other New World varietal wines.
Pinot Grigio Vs. Pinot Gris?
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are white wine grapes, but they come from different regions of France. Pinot Gris is grown in Alsace, while Pinot Grigio grows best in Italy’s Valle d’Aosta region.
They’re both known for their crisp acidity and floral aromas, perfect for pairing with white meats like chicken or fish.
“Pinot Grigio” translates to “gray pine” because the grape clusters resemble pinecones.
It’s also known as Pinot Blanc in France, where monks first cultivated it at a vineyard called Cistercian Abbey of La Grande Trappe in 1140 AD.
Pinot Noir is another grape often confused with Pinot Grigio due to its similar color and taste profile. They are both from the same family of grapes, the Pinot family.
Many countries produce Pinot Grigio, including Italy, France, Germany, and Austria.
But you can trace its origins back to France, where it was first cultivated in Burgundy during the 16th century by Clos de Vougeot near Dijon.
Then it became popular in Italy as an excellent climate variety. Since then, they have used it to produce high-quality wines.
Today, much of the production of Pinot Grigio comes from Italy’s Alto Adige region, which produces some of the best examples of this aromatic varietal.
Other regions include Trentino-Alto Adige (Trentino-Südtirol), Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and Veneto (Veneto).
Characteristics And Taste
Pinot Grigio has a light, fruity flavor that’s easy to drink, so people choose it as restaurant house wine.
Pinot Grigio comes in three styles: dry, off-dry, and sweet.
The dry style has less than 0.5 percent residual sugar, the off-dry style has between 0.5 percent and 2 percent residual sugar, the sweet style has more than 2 percent residual sugar, and the amount varies by region.
4 Types And How To Differentiate Them
Pinot Grigio comes in four different types, and here’s how you can differentiate them from each other:
- Mineral and Dry
Northern Italy, such as Trentino Alto Adige, Lombardy, Veneto, Austria, Romania, Slovenia, and Hungary, are the most popular.
These dry whites are popular due to their simplicity. They frequently lack fruit tastes and have a salty flavor.
There is no oak aging or malolactic fermentation, and they are made in stainless steel tanks.
Fruit-Forward and Dry
This style of Pinot Grigio wine is popular in Argentina, Australia, California, New Zealand, and Oregon.
It features lemon, white peach, and yellow apple notes. Aside from the fruity scent, the malolactic fermentation gives this wine an “oily” texture.
It undergoes partial malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks or neutral barrels.
What is malolactic fermentation? It’s a secondary fermentation when you expose the wine to oxygen.
It’s a process in which yeasts convert malic acid into lactic acid, which gives complexity to the wine and decreases the amount of tartness in its flavor profile.
Malolactic fermentation is used in wine production to balance the harshness of tannin and reduce acidity.
The process of malolactic fermentation is what gives Pinot Grigio its buttery flavor. The method also helps keep wines fresh by reducing the amount of acidity in them.
Fruity and Sweet
Alsace is the only wine area that produces sweet Pinot Gris. This type of wine will have flavors like delicious lemon candy, honeycomb, honey, and crisp apples.
To help you out, when purchasing a sweet Alsace Pinot Grigio, look for the following terms on the label:
- Sélection de Grains Nobles and Tardives Vendage: A very sweet wine
- Pinot Gris Grand Cru Pinot Gris and from Alsace: Less sweet
Rose Pinot Grigio (Ramato)
This Pinot Grigio from Friuli Venezia Giulia in northeast Italy has become a severe contender in the Rose wine market.
Ramato, meaning “auburn” or “copper,” wines are prepared by crushing Pinot Grigio grapes and soaking them in their skins for 24-36 hours, also known as maceration. The wine gets its faint copper color from this method.
On the finish of Ramato, you’d get flavors of leather, sour cherry, white raspberry, or a meaty, dried cranberry flavor.
Fantastic Food Pairings
Sushi, ceviche, and seafood like shellfish complement an excellent bottle of Pinot Grigio.
This dry white wine matches light pasta dishes and gruyere or manchego cheeses.
Avoid tomato-based dishes and citrus fruits if the wine has a firm acidity.
7 Pinot Grigio Wines You Can Try Under $100
Nowadays, there are many options you can choose from, and you can even enjoy a bottle of non-alcoholic Pinot Grigio if you are thinking of cutting down on your alcohol intake.
But here’s a list of Pinot Grigio wines you can try:
- 2014 Bressan Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia
- 2007 Volpe Pasini Zuc di Volpe ‘Ipso’ Pinot Grigio Colli Orientali del Friuli
- 2017 Dario Princic Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia
- 2017 Foradori ‘Fuoripista’ Pinot Grigio Vigneti delle Dolomiti
- 2012 Franco Terpin ‘Sialis’ Pinot Grigio delle Venezie
- 2018 Radikon Sivi Venezia Giulia
- 2017 Damijan Podversic Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia
Pinot Grigio is not a wine you can keep in your cellar for years, you have to consume and savor it within three years after its vintage.
If you want to invest in a bottle of fine white wine, you could always look into a premium Chardonnay Wine or any other investment-grade wine for your collection.
It is an excellent wine to sip while chilling with friends and family.
It’s an affordable wine with a taste that goes down quickly without making you feel bad or sick afterward.
So go ahead and drink Pinot Grigio whenever you like. You can also save it for special occasions.