Pinot Grigio has become a favourite in wine bars, pubs and restaurants across the UK. The wine is a drinkable white variety which goes well with food and it is light enough to be enjoyed alone or with a meal. The Pinot Grigio grape produces a light to medium bodied wine and is on a par with chardonnay based white wines when it comes to popularity amongst the general public. Pinot Grigio has sprinted its way up the charts in recent years vying for top spot with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. At wine bars and dining tables the world over, Pinot Grigio is increasingly the white wine of choice because of its versatility and lightness.
The Pinot Grigio grape is actually a mutation of the black grape Pinot Noir and it has a skin which is of a weird grey/pink colour. It is also not actually called Pinot Grigio the proper name is Pinot Gris, which makes sense when you know the colour of the grape and it has been known of and in use since the Middle Ages. Pinot means pinecone in French, this is because the grapes grow in small pinecone shaped clusters and hence the name. It is because of its success in Italy that it has become better known as Pinot Grigio and it is in this incarnation that we will be discussing it in this article.
Although its grown all over the world, its spiritual home is northern Italy - especially Friuli-Venezia and the Alto Adige where its produces a light to medium bodied wine with subtle white fruit and spice characters. Indeed the Italian Pinot Grigio is perfect with all Italian food but especially fish and salads. The grape is also grown in Alsace, where it is known as Tokay Pinot Gris. This wine is a fuller-bodied wine, perfectly suiting the rich foods of the region.
In the last few years there have been real developments in the Pinot Grigio coming out of Australia and New Zealand. Slightly different to the Italian wines, mainly because the grapes ripen quicker in the warmer climate these wines are slightly sweeter and richer but still retain that essential Italian feel which characterises the wines qualities. Australian Pinot Grigio is great with Thai food as its flavour can stand up to the heat and richness of the dishes.
But the versatility of this grape does not stop here. The wine is now being produced in Argentina, and other places in South America. It is not produced in huge quantities but it is starting to get established and should be looked out for in the future.
If you like Pinot Grigio, you might also like: Pinot Blanc an impressively flavoursome white from Alsace; Gavi another immensely popular Italian white; or Muller Thurgau which is found in Southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
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Fiona Muller has been writing for over 20 years. She is a qualified journalist and has worked in food and drink industry, and writing Pinot grigio related topics for the last few years. For a range of wines that are based on the Pinot Grigio grape go to laithwaites.co.uk
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