Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are extremely popular and well recognized by consumers, not only in America but also worldwide. What exactly is the difference between them? Strictly technically speaking, there is no difference. They are the same variety that is called different, in France and Italy. While the term 'Pinot Gris' is used to differentiate the style made in the first, 'Pinot Grigio' has more to do with the second, and because of the stylistic approach, it is also used in most wine regions of the New World as Australia, California, and Argentina.
Pinot Gris/Grigio can produce a wide range of styles.
On the one hand, it can deliver high color intensity, complexity, dense, rich body with 14,5% alcohol. Excellent quality French Pinot Gris tends to be expressive and complex, showing sweet yellow fruit aromas with a persistent underlayer of ripe apple and peach, and delicate smoky and gun powder notes.
Alsacian Pinot Gris wines must be made with 100% Pinot Gris grapes, and they recognized by their unique complexity, long taste, and off-dry style. They are also made in a late harvest style (aka 'Vendages Tardives'), which is an even sweeter dessert wine option.
Entry-level Pinot Grigios, on the other hand, tend to have a subtle nose with notes of green apples, lime, and white pear. These simpler wines show certain neutrality, muted varietal typicity, and moderate low alcohol of 12%. While Italian Pinot Grigios tend to be dry, Australian and Californian, tend to have a slightly sweet palate, often balanced with a note of rose petals.
What flavors can you expect from Pinot Gris/Grigio?
The primary fruit flavors in Pinot Grigio are citrus that range from the green lime to ripe lemon, tree fruit like pear, white nectarine, and apple. (For primary aromas, we consider all those coming from the grape typicity)
Pinot Grigio can take on faint honeyed notes with a floral twist. A saline minerality is also possible to develop depending on the regionality.
Unlike Moscato or Riesling, it doesn't have a market varietal typicity, but it does offer a bright acidity. When coming from the top vineyards, it typically delivers a weighty oily palate.
If you are a fan of Albariño, Pinot Blanc, Torrontes, Unoaked Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris/Grigio can turn out to be great.
If thinking of wine pairing, just choose fresh and crispy food. Pinot Grigio has a zesty element, and it’s refreshing acidity pairs make an excellent pairing for vegetables, ceviche, sushi, and light meals. If looking to pair a richer Pinot Gris from the US or Australia, you can play with richer dishes. Alsatian Pinot Gris is a perfect pairing for Asian spicy food.
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