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Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris

The Other Pinot

Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio is a good change of pace for most of our clubs who are heavy on the reds. The grape itself is actually a relative of Pinot Noir so you red lovers should feel right at home here. Actually, the grape has the same DNA but mutated long ago to grow in a different color. Add that to your trivia bank. However don't expect to smell much because this wine is surprisingly low in aroma so you're going to have to hunt for the bouquet.

This wine varies greatly from region to region. Some prefer Pinot Grigio from TreVenezie in Italy. It is light and frivolous and easy to drink. There's nothing serious about this wine at all, it's just a great bottle to open up for a picnic. It is consumer friendly however and is sure to please most palettes. Italians are big red drinkers as a rule so their attention is usually spent perfecting that science. Don't get us wrong, it is good if you are hot and thirsty but not expecting much complexity.

Pinot Gris from Alsace, France has a much more complex flavor. The whites from Alsace tend to be taken quite seriously as one of the only wine regions in the world that produces predominantly white wines. The only red grape varietal grown here is its cousin, Pinot Noir. To note, Alsace was one of the first wine regions to list the varietal on its wine bottles, rather than the region as done in other parts of France. They also frown upon blending their grapes, taking a pure version of a wine to heart. Their Pinot Gris is dry and sweet as are most of the wines from the region. This means basically that you are drinking a nice crisp fruity wine with a full bodied flavor.

Pinot Gris also comes from Oregon where they were made popular in the early 1990s. Their Pinot Gris is spicy and would be a great pairing to Kathleen's Pear salad below. It is a very food friendly wine and would be a safe bet when bringing your hostess a gift on a sunny day. It was a natural for Oregon, a huge fan of Pinot Noir, to grow this relative. While it is not their top produced white wine, it is one of the favorites from Oregon, thriving on the cooler temperatures for a fuller wine.

So the moral of the story is Pinot Gris, or Pinot Grigio from Italy, has many faces. In a tasting, please try wines from all three of these regions because you really will taste the difference. We laugh in our club because we all have very different palettes and we naturally gravitated towards wines of a different region on this tasting. Email us your results please or post your comments on our blog under Pinot Gris at because we'd love to hear from you!

Happy tasting and we'll see you at!

Darcy & Stacy

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