Grape Varieties: Pinot Grigio
All about Pinot Grigio Wine
Pinot Grigio wine is the Italian name for Pinot Gris wine. Pinot Grigio wine has become inexplicably trendy in recent years with much of the wine labelled as Pinot Grigio wine simply providing fresh, crisp dry white wine which appears to be almost devoid of any flavour. Indeed, one person (involved in the regulation side of the wine trade) recently reported to us that there is now more Pinot Grigio wine coming out of Italy than there are vines capable of making it (you can draw your own conclusions on that one but there is a distinct hint of a bandwagon being jumped on by some producers of Pinot Grigio wine).
The degradation of the fascinating variety that is Pinot Gris by the industrial production of flavourless "Pinot Grigio" is a shame since in Alsace Pinot Gris makes some wonderful, discreetly full, mildly aromatic and complex white wines which are a real treat. One wonders what it is that the Italians manage to do to most Pinot Grigio wine which removes its natural flavour and it is easy to assume that this may simply be the result of over-cropping which produces lots of dilute and flavourless juice to meet the rising demand.
Certainly most Pinot Grigio wine is intended for early drinking though Pinot Gris from Alsace can age beautifully and develop considerable complexity. However a few Italian producers continued to make Pinot Grigio wines of honesty and flavour which shows Pinot Grigio wine at its best. These are worth seeking out but are hard to find since (perhaps understandably) merchants list the products that customers most frequently request and flavoursome and characterful Pinot Grigio wine tend not to be amongst them.
The cooler regions of New Zealand are amongst the best suited New World areas for Pinot Grigio wines though it is more commonly labelled as Pinot Gris and more closely resembles the richer end of the European scale. Pinot Grigio wine is also made in Oregon and California and is now starting to be seen in South America.
If all this sounds rather negative we're sorry, it's just that we are saddened by the fact that Pinot Grigio wine has become synonymous with white wines that don't offend anybody, but nor are they particularly memorable to drink. Our advice would be to be brave occasionally and buy a bottle labelled "Pinot Gris" once in a while rather than sticking to Pinot Grigio wine - you may be pleasantly surprised!
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