I’ve been to a few Xmas functions recently where the white wine on offer was a pinot gris? Have you had the same experience? One of the reasons for this trend, I think, is that a growing number of Australian producers are making great pinot gris or pinot grigio (more on the differences between the two in a moment) at very affordable prices. You can buy excellent quality pinot gris for around $20 a bottle!
Last Friday night, for example I really enjoyed Mount Majura Vineyard’s Pinot Gris 2010 $23. Delicate and fruity (think pears and nectarines), its subtle sweetness was balanced by a crisp lively acidity and delightfully long textured finish. It worked beautifully with the fresh tuna nicoise salad.
The Difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio
Same grape, different styles!
Stylistically, pinot gris is typically richer and more full bodied than pinot grigio. It is made from riper grapes and often has a slight sweetness. Pinot grigio is lighter, drier and less complex in style.
Pinot gris is, of course, the French name for the variety which, after riesling and gewürztraminer, is the third most popular noble grape of the Alsace region in France. Pinot grigio is the Italian name for the same variety. It is typically grown in the northeast of Italy with the best examples coming from Friuli and Alto Adige.
“Luscious” and “crisp” are two of the most common adjectives used to describe the best examples of the respective styles. Fortunately, Mornington Peninsula winemaker Kevin McCarthy of T’Gallant worked with the Australian Wine Research Institute to devise a Pinot G Style Spectrum, which grades the style of ‘pinot g’ from one to nine, from “crisp” at the beginning of the scale to “luscious” at the other end. Huon Hooke reports that the innovative Pinot G Style Spectrum label should start appearing on most Australian examples of the style over the next couple of years,.. [Read More]