Spring is almost here and we’re bringing in this new season with a glass of light, crisp Pinot Grigio.
Pinot Grigio is often a go-to wine for many people, and with good reason. This wine is flexible for pairings with lighter food because of its light texture, but an acidic glass can also cut through rich dishes. From salads to buttery, roasted salmon, Pinot Grigio is a great pairing.
Pinot Grigio is grown all over the world and has many different homes and names to boot. You are probably most aware of the Italian spelling, “Pinot Grigio,” but did you know in France it’s called Pinot Gris? Pinot Gris is a genetic “mutation” of the popular grape Pinot Noir. Technically, it’s not an actual mutation because it has the same genetic makeup as the former. In fact, Pinot Blanc is another variation having the same genetic makeup. The grape vines are so unstable that they can switch back and forth between all variations seemingly on a whim. Weird, right? One minute you are a red grape and the next you are grey. And we do mean grey. Pinot Grigio or Gris is not a white grape. The skin is actually somewhere in between red and white, and when it is fermented with the skins, it produces a golden, light colored pink wine referred to as a Ramato style Pinot Grigio. These wines are rare and super weird so whenever you see one, we definitely recommend you check it out.
Pinot Grigio may have a bad wrap because of its fruity and light nature, however, there are good examples that are different and sometimes better than you’d expect. In Oregon, many wine producers make a Pinot Gris, a reference to the French style of Alsace. These wines are mineral driven with green apple, citrus and tart flavors. They also tend to be heavier wines than your standard Pinot Grigio. Then there are nice examples of the lighter and more fruit forward styles coming out of Italy like Santa Margherita on the more expensive side, however, Da Vinci and Santa Marina both produce Pinot Grigios that are less expensive. If you are looking for an American Pinot Gris, King Estate based out of Oregon is well known for producing excellent examples of this wine as well as Alsace Trimbach. Check out these wineries if you like Pinot Grigio but want something a bit different.
As we roll into the warmer months of the year, get ready for spring wine showers and summer sippers with Pinot Grigio!
Top image via Vine Pair