Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio
What is the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio?
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are actually the same grape variety. They are known by different names depending on the region they are grown and the winemaking style employed. The difference lies primarily in the origin and the style of the wine produced.
The name “Pinot Gris” is derived from the French term and most commonly associated with wines produced in the Alsace region of France. Pinot Gris from Alsace tends to be rich, full-bodied, and often slightly sweet.
The name “Pinot Grigio” is of Italian origin and is commonly used for wines produced in Italy. Pinot Grigio from Italy is typically lighter, crisper, and drier compared to Pinot Gris.
Style and Winemaking
In Alsace, Pinot Gris wines are often made in a richer, fuller style with a more golden colour. They can exhibit flavours of ripe fruits such as pear, apple, peach, and honey. Some producers also make off-dry or sweet versions.
Whilst Italian Pinot Grigio wines are generally made in a lighter, fresher style with a pale straw colour. Particularly they tend to have flavours of citrus fruits like lemon, lime, and green apple, and they are usually fermented to be dry.
Climate and Terroir
Pinot Gris: In Alsace, Pinot Gris grapes benefit from a cooler climate and a longer growing season, allowing them to develop more complexity and higher sugar levels, resulting in a richer wine.
Pinot Grigio: Italian Pinot Grigio grapes thrive in a warmer climate, which contributes to the grapes’ higher acidity and lighter, crisper style.
It is important to note that winemakers’ choices and regional variations can also influence the style of the wine. So there can be some overlap between the two terms. However, as a ‘general rule’, Pinot Gris is associated with the fuller-bodied, often sweeter style from Alsace, while Pinot Grigio refers to the lighter, drier style from Italy.
Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio in Australia
In Australia, winemakers have the freedom to use the labels gris and grigio interchangeably. Although the unofficial understanding is that wines with a higher level of extract could/should be labelled Pinot Gris and those with less extract named Pinot Grigio.
We will let you be the judge as to what your preference is! Salute!