What’s in a name? Well sense of identity I suppose; and with wines and grapes it is as applicable as with any other thing. We, in North America, remain quite varietally focused with our wines. We tend to gravitate towards wines named for the grape or grapes that they are produced from, and perhaps that is part of the success of Pinot Grigio. I think people like to say the name, and it sounds exotic enough yet seems familiar enough that it isn’t intimidating. Plus let’s face it… it’s not chardonnay, and for many wine drinkers that fact alone is enough to attract attention.
So, whether you like to say Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio, you are talking about the same grape. Different countries and different producers will result in differing styles, but ultimately it’s the same grape. It tends to be light and crisp, with delicate aromatics, and slightly leaner structure than its cousins Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay, and has an affinity towards lighter fare and seafood, or simply makes a refreshing companion to more intensely flavoured dishes. A few that I am fond of are as follows:
Villa Chiopris Pinot Grigio – lean and mineral style with subtle citrus and straw notes, and crisp acidity.
Lagaria Pinot Grigio – slightly more modern version with a touch more fruit intensity on the nose and palate with citrus and floral notes and balanced acidity.
Zenato Pinot Grigio – classic lean and crisp, with a slightly richer mouth feel, balanced by white citrus, hints of minerality, and juicy acidity.
Fasoli Gino Pinot Grigio – an Italian beauty, with layered white fruit and citrus character, very slight herbaceous hints, balanced mineral and crisp acidity.