Pinot Grigio Wines

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Many people use the terms Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris interchangeably. One is the Italian translation, the other the French--or Californian and Oregonian. When winemakers in California make this wine from this grape, it's called Pinot Grigio. When winemakers in Oregon make this wine from this grape, it's called Pinot Gris. No matter what you call it, this wine is one of the most popular varietals on the market all over the globe.

In keeping your Pinots straight, do be advised that Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris is not the same grape as the Pinot Blanc. Pinot Blanc, the grape, and the wine, is a completely different animal. To make matters more confusing (or clear, depending on your point of view), is the fact that the Pinot Grigio/Gris grape and the Pinot Blanc grapes are each mutations of the Pinot Noir.

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio: You Say Tomato....

Being an offshoot of the Pinot Noir, the Pinot Grigio/Gris grape is darkly colored: a rich, dusky, dusty pink. When in Italy, Pinot Grigio hails from the area known as the Veneto, one of the most dramatically beautiful regions in Italy. When in France, it's most famously associated with the Pinot Gris of Alsace.

Italian versions of this wine tend to be dry and light. California versions are dry and light as well, with less mineral flavor than their Italian counterparts, though they both have lemon and other citrus overtones. Pinot Gris, from Alsace, on the other hand, is considered more fruity and flowery, heavier and more dramatic. Both the French and Italian versions are best served just below 50 degrees.

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