Pinot Grigio is a type of wine that deserves your full attention. This famous dry white wine from Italy is considered one of the top wines in the United States alone. Zesty, refreshing, and punchy, Pinot Grigio is best served with a cold glass of lemonade in the summertime.
Its acidity has a hint of green apples, honeysuckle, and lemons. Pinot Grigio is a superb choice of young wine during hot summer parties with family and friends.
This dry white wine comes from popular grape in the world, Pinot Gris. While there are some mutations of the red grape Pinot Noir, the skin of this grape is not green like others. Instead, it has a greyish-blue shade.
Pinot Grigio originated in Burgundy. In the 1300s, the wine also found its way to Switzerland, making it the popular wine of the Emperor.
Pinot Grigio got fantastic reviews in Northeastern Italy, particularly Trentino, Lombardy, Alto Adige, Veneto, and Friuli. From its widespread popularity in Northern Italy, the wine has made a name in all of Italy, turning it into the most popular imported white wine in the U.S.
While the wine has made a mark in the winemaking industry, some quarters looked at Pinot Grigio as too “simple”.
“This mostly stems from the fact that because Pinot Grigio is so popular, its popularity has resulted in some very bad mass-produced bottles which have given the wine a bad name,” the Vine Pair said in its review.
“One of the best ways to ensure you drink delicious and interesting Pinot Grigio is to simply avoid the budget bottles and the wines being sold under huge mass marketing campaign,” it added.
The three main types of the gray grape, Pinot Gris
The words Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are technically interchangeable. In French, Pinot Gris means “gray Pinot”. In Italian, it is called Pinot Grigio
1. Fruity & Sweet Pinot Gris
In Alsace, France, you can find the sweetest variety of Pinot Gris. For hundreds of years, Alsace made its attempts to recreate the intensely sweet white wine called Tokaji (“toe-kye”). Interestingly, Alsace could use the words “Tokay d’Alsace” on their bottles of Pinot Gris starting in 2007.
This made Alsace one of the places where you can find the sweet variety of Pinot Gris. “With flavors of sweet lemon candy, honeycomb, and honey crisp apples, winemakers apply very advanced winemaking techniques to increase the mouthfeel texture and use late harvest and noble rot grapes to maximize the flavor potential,” Wine Folly maintained.
2. Minerally & Dry Pinot Grigio
According to Wine Folly, Pinot Grigio grows in steep alpine valleys from Italy through Slovenia, Hungary, and Austria.
“The mountains are a powerful force on the agriculture here, and it ensures grapes maintain high acidity. The resulting wines are zippy and lean,” it said.
Because of this zippy texture of the wine, Pinot Grigio goes nicely with French fries, mussels, and French fries, especially during a hot day. You can serve the wine with cold citrus and enjoy its blend for those who like it.
3. Fruity & Dry Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris is also fruit-driven in another style. You can find the flavor of yellow apple, lemon, and white peach. However, the texture will be more oily and richer. Not to mention, the aroma has less acidity,
“This is because winemakers often add a special bacteria after the alcohol fermentation converts sharp-tasting acids to smooth-tasting ones in a process called Malolactic Fermentation,” Wine Folly said.
Interesting facts about Pinot Grigio
- Pinot Grigio is one of the most grown grapes in the world.
- The fruit from this wine is a white mutation of the renowned Pinot Noir grape.
- Pinot Grigio wine is found on many wine lists due to its versatility in food pairing.
- Many celebrities enjoy a glass of Pinot Grigio.
- Pinot Grigio got its name from a bluish-grey grape variety.
- During the production of this white wine, workers extracted the juice from grapes while the grape skins are discarded.
- Pinot Grigio ripens quite fast.
- The early harvest time from this fruit makes it retain acidity and freshness.
- Americans love Pinot Grigio because of the intense fruit nose and taste in wine.
- Pinot Grigio grapes are totally unique in aroma and flavor per region.
- In warmer areas, the wine tastes with a hint of green apple and lemon.
- In Italy, the body of Italian Pinot Grigio wines are lighter-bodied.
Pinot Grigio wine is best paired with white meats, like pork and chicken.
“Furthermore, they complement white fish amazingly. A cold climate Pinot Grigio wines lemon/lime hints compliments white fish, while the crispness can cut across a fattier fish such as catfish. Seafood pasta dishes go well with the wine,” read a recommendation from the Second Bottle publication.
According to the authors, the acidity in Pinot Grigio makes it perfect as a pairing for meats with creamy sauces.
On the other hand, Pinot Grigio wines are often consumed very young.
“For example, many producers of the wine have it bottled and being sold on shelves of wine markets and stores within 12 weeks of fermentation,” the article said.
“Not all Pinot Grigio is drunk so young, however many varieties are. As a general rule, Pinot Grigio wines should be drunk within five years as they do not necessarily lend well to aging,” it added.
When is the best time to serve Pinot Grigio?
As a rule, you have to serve or consume Pinot Grigio when cold or chilled. Roughly 45° F is the ideal temperature to serve Pinot Grigio wines.
Different appeals of Pinot Grigio
Top wine author Patrick Schmitt of the Drink Business said that Pinot Grigio “can make first-rate sparkling wine in various styles, from overtly fruity Prosecco-alternatives to something more serious, with the chalky, bright appeal one might find in a youthful Champagne.”
Pinot Grigio has an excellent appeal. The pink Pinot Grigios has a hint of peach and pear fruit flavors, but with the acidity of an apple.
“Beyond the fine value on offer from Italy’s Veneto – and parts of Eastern Europe too – California is a relatively new source of reliably good Pinot Grigio, albeit in a slightly richer, creamier, more textural style, with riper, peachier fruit, and a touch of residual sugar,” said Schmitt.
Pinot Grigio is usually delicately crisp and fragrant with mildly floral notes and hints of citrus. Pinot Grigio can be tangy and light, or quite rich, round and full bodied depending on ripeness at harvest and winemaking technique. Made in an appropriate style, it is one dry white wine that can even age well.
Enjoy Pinot Grigio as an aperitif or paired with seafood, light portions of pasta, or cheese & cracker combinations.