Grapes tend to change their name depending on the country they grow in. Sometimes the names and styles are so similar it’s hard not to know they’re the same thing. Grenache in France is Garnacha in Spain. Syrah in France is Shiraz everywhere else. But Pinot Grigio is different.
The thing with Pinot Grigio, is it’s not that the names in different countries are tough to follow, it’s that the styles in different countries are so different you think it can’t be the same! Anyone who’s had a rich, full bodied, golden coloured Pinot Gris from Alsace, or a Grauburgunder from Germany would struggle to do a blind tasting and say it’s the same grape as the light, fruity Italian brother.
The Italians love to pick it early. The sugars that turn into big alcohol in Alsace don’t have time to develop. The fruity flavours that turn into mango and peach in Germany are stopped short and green apple and pear is in their place. The acidity left in the grapes (making it refreshing to drink) are retained rather than lost over the last month or so in the fields.
The big draw of Pinot Grigio is the citrus kick. Depending on which one you end up picking, you can get big kicks of lemon, lime, or grapefruit. And what doesn’t that work with? Starters, seafoods, salads, you name it!
The citrus kick though can sometimes be its downfall. If it’s not been looked after on the vine or in the cellar then the balance can be very easily messed up. Most of us would be happy to drink light, fruity wines with a boosting citrus kick, but no-one wants to drink lemon juice!
That’s why people have turned off Pinot Grigio of late, as too much of this over (or indeed under) produced watered down acid has been on the shelf. Let’s give Pinot Grigio the chance it deserves and try what it’s meant to taste like this week, eh?
Other Posts in NWTW Week 47: