Pinot Gris

Classic aromas of Pinot Gris are: Pear, Lemon, Red Apple, Ginger, Yellow Peach and Mango


Pinot Gris is a white grape variety hailing from France. Pinot Gris is one of the few ‘Pinots’ that belong to the grape family of ‘Pinot’ – the oldest, and arguably the most important, grape family of them all. It is assumed to date back 2000 years ago. Over this time ‘Pinot’ has mutated and crossed with numerous grapes to create over 156 grapes that are all highly important in the European winemaking culture (and abroad) – extended further there are links to from the ‘Pinot’ family to Syrah and many Italian native grapes.

Pinot Gris is made in two very different styles on the marketplace. When made well it can produce good quality whites that are medium to full-bodied wines with some acidity, a touch of sweetness and a raft of tropical/stone fruit flavours. Alternatively the wines are made in a refreshing white wine style (Pinot Grigio) that has higher acidity with and a dominance of citrus fruit flavours. Atop of these styles, Pinot Gris really comes into its own when made as a sweet wine.

France is the home to the fuller-bodied and sweet examples of Pinot Gris. These wines come solely from the region of Alsace. Here it makes up a total of 2,617ha and a third of the regions total plantings. A fair amount of the Pinot Gris produced in Alsace is made in an off-dry style which is luscious and the perfect match to many a thai curry. Though, they specialise in late-harvest (Vendages Tardive) and Botrytis styles (Seleccion de Grains Nobles).

Italy is the home of the refreshing, dry style of Pinot Grigio. The country has doubled in plantings from 1990-2000 and will continue to rise with over 6,668ha currently devoted to Pinot Grigio. Most of this is planted in the North of Italy but can be found dotted all around the country.

Equally important in Germany where it is known as Grauburgunder, who has 4,481ha. Germany tends to produce a style of Pinot Gris that is a mix between the citrus-driven Pinot Grigio and complex-fruit driven style of Alsace.

Pinot Gris, like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon before it, is planted most places vines are found. California has 5,223ha, Switzerland 216ha, Canada 376ha, Argentina 349ha, Australia 2,836ha and New Zealand has 1,501ha. With many smaller plantings in the majority of the rest of the world’s wine regions.

Pinot Gris produces wines that are light-full bodied wines with moderate acidities. Pinot Grigio-styled wines have dominance of lemon, lime, ginger, pear and green apple flavours. Alsace-styled wines have complex flavours of pear, baked apple, lemon, mango, honeysuckle and yellow peaches.

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