Pinot Gris–Pinot Grigio. Same grape, often not same wine.
The grape is a Pinot Noir mutation—clusters retain pine-cone shape (pinot), but instead of black (noir) they are gray (gris), more accurately grayish blue or brownish pink, even in the same cluster.
Where it is made and choice of style produces different wines. It also is early-to-market wine sold 4–12 weeks after fermentation, making it intoxicatingly popular with winemakers. It is second-most planted white grape in U.S., behind Chardonnay, and often referred to as “the other white.” It pairs well with white meat—fish, chicken, pork—and Asian cuisine. If you are just getting into wine, sweetness makes it ideal start of your journey.
California Pinot Gris wines usually are light-bodied with crisp, refreshing taste and pepper notes. It is California’s second-most planted white grape.
Oregon Pinot Gris wines are medium-bodied with yellow to copper-pink color and aromas of pear, apple, and melon. It is Oregon’s most planted white grape.
In Italy, it is Pinot Grigio and made as light-bodied, lean, crisp, acidic wine that is light in color and often has sweet, spritzy flavors.
In France, Pinot Gris wines—also known as Tokay—are sweet, spicy, and medium-to-full bodied with rich, floral and tropical fruit aromas. Alsace is major growing region. Although most Pinot Gris wines are consumed early, Alsatian Pinot Gris/Tokay ages well.
German Pinot Gris wines are full-bodied with a balance of acidity and slight sweetness.
Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio—whatever—versatile, popular, usually slightly sweet wine beginning wine drinkers enjoy. Served chilled.
• Cavit Pinot Grigio. Crisp, light value play. Italy. $8.50
• Duck Pond Pinot Grigio. Nice acidity, tropical fruit, no oak. Oregon. $14.50
• Kris Pinot Grigio. Citrus, stone fruit, apricot, melon, almonds. Italy. $15
• San Angelo Pinot Grigio. Rich, full taste; effervescent; excellent aperitif. Italy. $18
• J Vineyards Pinot Gris. Limes; no oak, no malolactic fermentation. California. $21