WINES WITH PINOT GRIGIO
Pinot gris (or pinot grigio, as it is known in Italy) probably is the best-known "white" variant-clone of Pinot Noir. Ripe pinot gris grapes may be described as having colors from bluish grey to light pinkish brown. Clusters with a variety of colors are not unusual.
The variety can attain a very high level of sweetness, but will begin to lose acid rapidly when near to fully ripe. Sometimes it is used to add richness and to lighten, when blended with Pinot Noir.
Some pinot gris is grown in Burgundy, where it may be called pinot beurot. Where planted in Germany, it is known as ruländer. It is of little commercial significance in either locale. Friuli, in Italy, produces the largest quantity, but only two appellations have Pinot Gris stars in the wine quality galaxy: Alsace, France, the traditional base of Pinot Gris appreciation and Oregon, the newest Pinot Gris area to come to light.
In Alsace, the pinot gris grape is called tokay d'Alsace (no relation to the Hungarian Tokay). The Alsatians value it as a full-bodied wine that can stand up to food without introducing any flavors of its own. In Italy, Pinot Grigio can be quite distinguished, coming from some producers, especially in the Friuli region, who devote attention to growing and vinifying. Unfortunately for its reputation, there are many other Italian Pinot Grigio makers that overcrop and harvest early to produce crisp, but vapid wines.
There are winemakers in the United States who are putting serious efforts into growing and producing Pinot Gris. Nearly 1,620 acres are planted in California, mostly in the Central and South coastal areas. Both quality and sales have been erratic thus far. Many Oregon wineries, on the other hand, have had good success and are moving steadily away from making Chardonnay while increasing production of Pinot Gris. In the 2000 vintage, Pinot Gris total plantings (1270 acres) and quantity crushed (2917 tons) surpassed Chardonnay (1125 acres, 2523 tons) for the first time.
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio is usually delicately fragrant and mildly floral with lightly lemon-citrus flavors. Depending upon ripeness at harvest and vinification technique, Pinot Gris can be tangy and light, or quite rich, round and full bodied. Made in an appropriate style, it is one dry white wine that may even age well.-winepros.org