“Dear Dr. Vinny,
I am trying to convince a friend that the only difference between a Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris is not simply because one is Italian and the other French. I believe a big difference is also the way the wine is made. I believe I am correct, but have not been able to locate information backing my beliefs. Have I been tragically misled?
—Kevin N., Detroit
No, you’re on the right track. This is a case where a single varietal is going by two names, so Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are identical in the sense that they are made from the same grape. But there is a big difference in the spectrum of styles that can be made from this grape. Pinot Gris from the Alsace region of France is typically rich and often sweet, with rich, spicy tropical fruit aromas. Pinot Grigio in northeastern Italy shows a lighter, crisp, clean and vibrant expression of the grape, with citrus flavors. Outside of these specific areas, the name vintners will use on the label is mostly a stylistic decision (as with naming a wine Syrah or Shiraz when it comes from neither France nor Australia), so they will usually select the name that best fits the style they’re going for, Alsatian or Italian.
Side Road 20 recently covered the topic on their blog and even better we’ve teamed up on a $3 off a 4 bottle gris/grigio mix pack you can have shipped to your door. Groovy Grapes wine club members save an additional $5. Use promo code groovygrapes on checkout or email support at groovygrapes.com with the subject gris me and we’ll hook you up.
“Our latest Discovery presents the perfect opportunity to stock up on your favourite variety! Purchase your 4 bottle pack which includes:
Coyote’s Run Red Paw Vineyard Pinot Gris 2012
Malivoire Pinot Gris 2012
Pondview Dragonfly Pinot Grigio 2013
Creekside Pinot Grigio 2012
Save $3.20 (+$5 for gg wine club members!
Many wine experts agree that a well chilled Pinot Grigio/Gris is the best wine to pair with Summer. Be sure to have your favourite with you at your Summer events. It’s perfect for entertaining with friends on a dock or deck and always hits the spot after a day of golf or gardening.” – Side Road 20
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