To gris or not to gris – thinking over Australian Pinot G

Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris? None or both? Does the different name of the same variety indicates the taste of the wine?

I have never been thinking too intensively about that, because the answer was very simple: those are two different names of one grape variety with just the style of the wine being different depending on the wine production region.

While visiting one of Australian’s Cellar Doors, during the conversation with the owner of the winery and tasting their Pinot Grigio 2014 (it was in March 2015, so the wine was quite fresh) I found out that in Australia it matters whether you write on a label Gris or Grigio and customers know the difference between those two “wines”.

I found it interesting.

So what are the differences between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio that you can find on Australian’s wine labels?

If you see “Pinot Grigio” on the label of Australian wine it means the wine is dry, very fresh and light, which reminds of our popular, a bit neutral, Italian PG.

If the label indicates “Pinot Gris” the wine is fruitier, fuller, more muscular and some producers might use the oak in the production process. This style is similar to Alsace PG in our European thinking.

And there is nothing bad or difficult to understand it because it is quite logic although I was confused by the wine I was drinking at the moment.

Because this Pinot Grigio 2014 has an Italian grape variety name on the label but the wine is quite viscous, very fruity (rich citrus fruits, melon, apricot), shows some accacia honey sweetness on the palate and has 13% vol. of alcohol which give a full/medium-full body impressions in the mouth.

So I laughed; if this wine is an example of fresh and dry Grigio then I want to try the viscous, muscular and ‘sweeter’ Gris.

I think I would name this particular wine as Pinot Gris instead of Pinot Grigio but I might change my mind as soon as I will try the varietal Pinot Gris from this area. I’m becoming a Gris Hunter and at the same time I am better prepared for any extreme palate experiences and other tasting surprises. (It’s been a while since I wrote it and at the moment of publishing this post I know that this particular wine was a Gris style).

From my personal point of view it doesn’t matter whether it is Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris. What matters is you enjoying the taste and having fun while tasting the wine.

What do you prefer? Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris? Do you consider the name being an indicator of the style for the wine? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

You might be interested in finding more about Australian variations and differences in PG – check for more interesting information about first in the world wine “finger prints”.

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