Pinot Gris Wine

Pinot Gris wine is commonly produced in the Alsace region of France. It is a grape that is related to Pinot Noir and other Pinot varieties. In Italy, the same grape is called Pinot Grigio. However, the wines made in France from Pinot Gris are dramatically different and should not be confused as the same beast.

It is thought to be a mutant of Pinot Noir but instead of the darker color of that grape variety, it has a lighter gray-blue or lighter fruit color ("gris" means grey in French). While the grape probably originated in Burgundy, it later spread and is grown in many areas around Europe and the world.


Where Is Pinot Gris Wine Made?

Pinot Gris is a grape variety that is most famously grown in the Alsace region of France. Although it originated in Burgundy and later was grown extensively in Champagne, it fell out of favor in those regions for the most part. In Alsace it found a home where the terroir of many of the vineyards fit the grape well. It is generally bottled as a varietal wine in Alsace, not blended with other grapes.

Outside of Alsace, the grape is still grown in small amounts in various parts of France. It has also spread to other regions such as California and Australia where some producers produce Pinot Gris varietal wines.

In Italy, as mentioned above, the grape is called Pinot Grigio and produces wine in several regions.


What Styles of Wine Does Pinot Gris Produce and What Do They Taste Like?

Alsatian Pinot Gris wine should not be confused with Italian Pinot Grigio. While the later is generally a light, innocuous white wine with freshness but not much depth or complexity, the Pinot Gris of Alsace is capable of great depth, complexity and longevity. Like Gewurztraminer the grape tends to have somewhat less acid than Riesling. However, it doesn't have as flamboyant a personality as Gewurz. It can have a full body with a rich, waxy texture to the flavors. The flavors tend toward the tropical fruit end of the spectrum with hints of mineral and floral aromas and flavors.

Like Gewurz, Riesling and other grapes grown in Alsace, the wines can be vinified as a dry white wine or a sweeter version. Vendange Tardive (VT) are late harvested wines that generally have greater ripeness and some sweetness. However, the sweetest wines in Alsace are those labeled Selection de Grains Nobles (SGN) which come just from hand-picked botrytis affected grapes, picked grape by grape! These are very concentrated, sweet dessert-style wines capable of long aging.


Some Famous Examples:

Top Wines (particularly single-vineyard wines from Grand Cru vineyards) from producers such as Zind-Humbrecht, Trimbach, Hugel, Leon Beyer, Kuentz-Bas, Weinbach, Albert Mann and others.



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