One question that is still asked a lot when I notice folks shopping for wine is, "What is the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio?"
I'm here to help fill in the blanks.
"Pinot Gris" is the Vitis vinifera grape, and in Italian it is called "Pinot Grigio".
Pinot Gris is a grayish-purple grape which produces white wine.
But much like any other wine grape, terroir matters. In other words, where the Pinot Gris is grown will dictate what the end product tastes like.
The grape is grown in mostly cooler climates, and will normally produce crisp, refreshing wine.
For example in Italy's Valdadige and Veneto regions, Pinot Grigios tend of have more body (medium-bodied) with a lot of citrus fruit and mineral flavors. The cheaper versions have a lighter body, but more of a neutral flavor.
In Oregon, Pinot Gris can run the gamut. It can be light and fragrant with floral and citrus characteristics, all the way to rich, round and tangy.
While in the Victoria region of Australia, vintners label wines using both names. The difference appears to be in the level of sweetness in the wine, as Pinot Grigio labels indicate drier wines than Pinot Gris.
Bottom line is, you can now shop for the quality and essence of the wine rather than fretting over which is which. Pinot Gris and/or Pinot Grigio make wonderful whites to enjoy any time of the year.
(Photo above by Mark Smith/Creative Commons)