Pinot Gris vs Grigio

Ever wonder what the difference is between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris?

Well, they are the same grape variety, made in different climates and into different styles. It is a white grape, with a greyish/brownish pink skin (hence the name “gris”, in French or “grigio” in Italian). Producers outside France and Italy can use these names to indicate a particular style of wine. What’s surprising is that this greyish-purple grape is also a mutation of Pinot Noir. The classic region for Pinot Gris in France is Alsace, while Pinot Grigio is grown throughout Italy.

• Pinot Gris wine is produced with riper grapes with a long exposure to the sun, whereas Pinot Grigio isn’t exposed to the sun for a long period of time.

• Pinot Gris has a very fruity and tropical character, whereas Pinot Grigio is fresh and citrus.

• Pinot Gris is a full-bodied wine with a viscous texture, whereas Pinot Grigio is very light-bodied.

Today Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio grapes are planted all over the world in almost every wine-growing region. For the most part, these countries are making the more fashionable Pinot Grigio style, which is typically easy-drinking and destined for early consumption. That said, there are also regions that focus more on the Pinot Gris style, such as BC, and parts of New Zealand.

One of my Italian, everyday go-to wines is Cavaliere d'Oro Campanile Pinot Grigio which is a great value at $12.99. Enticing aromas of flowers with sweet fresh citrus and hints of almonds. Vibrant with fresh acidity and fresh tropical fruit leads to a pleasant and long finish.

If you are looking for a real treat and are willing to spend the money then try Jermann Pinot Grigio $41.98 - It has an intense straw-yellow colour; its aroma is intense, full, and fruity, with excellent persistence. Its taste is dry, velvety, and particularly well-orchestrated for its full body.

One of my favourite BC wines is made in the Italian Pinot Grigio style – Bonamici Cellars Pinot Grigio - $22.98. A refreshingly crisp Pinot Grigio with delicious bouquet of mango, pear and spartan apple.  On the palate, crisp and dry with flavours of with just a touch of citrus grapefruit for a beautifully balanced finish with nice acidity.  It pairs well with Mediterranean tapas, seafood salads and Asian fusion cuisine.

A favourite from New Zealand’s Waihopai Valley - Marlborough, is Marisco Vineyards The Ned Pinot Gris - $18.99. A portion of the fruit was given skin contact to help enhance a salmon pink colour into the wine, thereby endorsing the signature style.

This wine has been crafted as an everyday glass of wine that can be appreciated as much on its own as it can when paired with food.

If you are looking to learn more about a grape varietal then a good reference point is Wine Folly.

Whatever your wine favourite is why not venture into Everything Wine and maybe give something new a try.