The Joys and Variety of Pinot Grigio.
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr
Pinot Grigio, grown all around the World, is the most popular white wine sold in the UK. Mainly the crisp young fresh and refreshing Northern Italian version, which can be anything from good, through to bland and boring. I suppose it is the equivalent to a "lager beer" of the wine industry!
But there is far more to Pinot Grigio than you might expect.
Firstly, the grape is a mutated clone of the Pinot Noir, where the leaf looks identical, but the skin colour is pale, anything from green to grey or even pale pink. The grape originated mainly in Burgundy, and can still be found there.
Secondly, it is found in Alsace where it is known as Pinot Gris (or grey Pinot). Also in Germany and Austria either as Rulander or mainly these days it is called Grauburgunder (or grey burgundy).
Most of Eastern Europe, and the rest of the World, Australia, New Zealand, USA, South Africa etc.. call it Pinot Grigio, so all the same grape, differentiated by climate, wine making, and the clones some with colour in the skins and some green.
My favourite wines from this grape are from Alsace. Not that fashionable these days, some are rich even semi sweet, but they are great with Alsace cooking, dishes like choucroute, and ham or smoked dishes.
For an excellent Pinot Grigio from Italy, try Morissons "The Best Pinot Grigio Alto Adige DOC", which is currently on offer for £9.00, and a lovely rich, full wine.
But most popular are the wines from Northern Italy, particularly the North West, in the region of Trentino, Friuli and Venezia Gulia.
As I said, these can be varied in quality but I would recommend as good regular examples, the wines from Morrisons and Tesco's.
In Morrisons they have an Organic Pinot Grigio 2018 with bright flavours of green apple and ripe citrus, and some roundness from a few years in bottle, as it is the 2018 vintage, for £7.25 a bottle.
Tesco's Finest Pinot Grigio is younger and brighter with nice floral aromas, clean and straightforward but good for £7.00. Or, snap it up before 24th April for just £5.25, when you buy 3 bottles.
If you want to splash out a bit, and try an absolute benchmark Italian Pinot Grigio, Frans Haas makes a wonderful example in Trentino with lots of intensity and honeyed complexity as well as a bright ripe citrus finish. You can find this at Fortnum and Mason on line for £16.50.
A grape with masses of interpretations, lots to discover.