Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio have definitely taken over a good market share from Sauvignon Blanc this summer.
And there is good reason for this.
Sauvignon Blanc, apart from its unbelievable popularity, is such an unremarkable drink with little complexity.
Some avid Savvy lovers may disagree.
Pinot Gris (or Grigio) on the contrary has much more body and character and some beautiful pure fruit characters without the grassy, herbal notes that Sauvignon blanc can often portray. It is a refreshing change in a wine that matches with many more styles of foods including Asian cuisine.
So what is the difference between Gris and Grigio styles?
Well, by the spelling we could derive that one originated in France and one in Italy.
True. But they are, all in all, the same grape.
However, stylistically the wines should be markedly different. When these wines are made in the new world they should display the characters as named on the label.
Pinot Grigio is from the Italian style and is picked earlier and should be lighter in its weight and alcohol strength. It usually displays crisp acidity with citrus and sometimes floral characters.
Pinot Gris from the French Style on the contrary is picked slightly later which gives the wine more viscosity and body and usually slightly more rounded mouth filling texture. Stone fruit, spice and pear are common characters of this style.
Look out for these:
2012 Stonebridge Pinot Grigio, Clare Valley, SA. Tasting notes: peach skins, lemon and tangerine nose leads to a palate that echoes the nose with added crisp minerality and clean acid finish. Eat with salt and pepper squid.
2013 Maude Pinot Gris, Wanaka, NZ Tasting notes: nectarine and pear spice leads to a lush palate with exotic spices and poached pear and slight fluffy lees characters. Eat with green curries.
2013 Brokenwood Pinot Gris, Beechworth Vic,RRP $23.00 This lovely example has a great nose of musk and pear which leads to a textured palate of tropical fruit with a zesty acid finish. Eat with Rabbit and Duck Terrine with spiced stone fruit jam.