Pinot Grigio/Gris

  (PEE-no GREE- gee-oh, PEE-no GREE)
Synonyms: Pinot Gris, Tokay – Pinot Gris, Pinot Beurot, Malvosie (France), Pinot Grigio (Italy), Graüburgunder (Germany) , Malvosie (Switzerland), Szürkebarat (Hungary)

Wine Name: Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris

Background: Pinot Grigio is thought to be a mutant clone of Pinot Noir. This is an all around grape which can be made in styles from dry to sweet. It is usually not made as a high acid grape and it can be honey flavored with age. In most cool climates (Alsace France being an exception), Pinot Gris produces more acidic wines with apple, pear, and a mild flowery aroma with honeyed or honeysuckle overtones. Italian Pinot Grigio would be an example. Alsace in northeastern France has a cool climate but in the fall, the climate is very dry and the grapes can have a long hang time in which they get continued sunshine for ripening. The results in Alsace are more flavors usually associated with grapes grown in a warm climate: melon, ripe bananas and mango and a dry wine with medium acidity. In temperate (non cool) climates such as Oregon and New Zealand, the Pinot Gris grape takes on aromas of flowers, almonds, nuts, apricots and the wine is fruity, “fruit forward”, with lower acidity.

Classic Brands and Sources: Alsace – Trimbach, Weinbach, Zind-Humbrecht; Oregon – A to Z, Evesham Wood, Ponzi, WillaKenzie Estate; Italy – Lageder, Schiopetto, Cavit


Style #1 – cool climate

Body medium

Acidity – medium (+) to high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – low

Style #2 – warm climate

Body – medium

Acidity – medium to medium (+)

Sweetness – dry to slightly fruity

Tannins – low

Style #3 – ice wine

Body – medium plus to full

Acidity – perceived as low

Sweetness – semi-sweet to sweet

Tannins – low

Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Cool climate – pairs better with acidic foods. Warm climate – goes with both slightly acidic foods and non acidic savory foods except those with moderate to high butter, fat or oil. Ice wine goes with sweet desserts

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Warm and cool climate styles pair with fish, shellfish, chicken, pork and veal with both acidic and light savory sauces; salads, sushi. Ice wine versions pair with sweet desserts.

Cheese Pairings:
Boursin herbed (cool climate), Brick, Derby, Feta (sheep’s milk), goat’s cheese, Gouda, Havarti, Majorero (Spanish hard goat cheese) Mahon, Bucheron (French goat cheese), dry Jack cheese, Cream (warm weather), Neufchatel , Saint – Felicien (French cow;s milk cheese), Raclette, Pave Affinois