History of a Grape: Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Gris
Each Month we will be taking a closer look at one of the grape varietals Suhru works with. Check back each month for more interesting facts, history, and tidbits about the wines we know and love! This August we are taking a look at Pinot Grigio and its twin Pinot Gris!
Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are genetically identical, these two styles of wine are made from the same grayish purple-hued grape. Identical twins with different personalities, the two styles each harken back to a national style.
Fun Fact: Pinot Grigio is a white variant-clone of the red grape Pinot Noir. Its skin is not green like other white grapes but is grayish, purple hued in color in pinecone shaped clusters.
The varietal itself originated in the Alsace region of France, from there it found its way to Switzerland in the 1300's and eventually made its way to Northern Italy, where it found wide acceptance in the wine world. As with many varieties (think Shiraz vs Syrah) the same grape varieties are often made in different styles based on the geographic region in which the wine is made and it is these differences that are at the root of the difference in style. In France, it is referred to as Pinot Gris, while in Italy it is called Pinot Grigio. At Suhru we focus on the Italian style, striving to make bright, crisp, refreshing Pinot Grigios.
When made in the French style, Pinot Gris are generally speaking made from very ripe grapes which have had more sun exposure, resulting in lush, richer, fuller, flavors with soft acidity. These wines tend to be fuller-bodied, richer, barrel fermented with the intention to age, and often feature tropical fruits notes such as nectarine, melon, mango, and honeysuckle. Typically they are also finished with some residual sugar via stopping the fermentation prior to completion.
Pinot Grigio on the other hand are made with the intention of being consumed and enjoyed within 1-2 years. Light in body and often fermented completely dry, Pinot Grigios lean towards bright, crisp, dry flavors and are usually unoaked which accentuates the bright, crisp zesty flavors of the grape. Whereas with Pinot Gris you are looking for extended sun exposure to create a lush, rich wine when you are making a Pinot Grigio the key factor is acidity. As the grape ripens in the vineyard you are watching the acidity levels. As soon as the acidity starts to drop you know it is time to pick because with this style you are looking for bright, crisp flavors which are enhanced by higher acidity levels in the wine. Common tasting notes for Italian style Pinot Grigios include granny smith apple, meyer lemon, and lime zest. When describing Pinot Grigio our benchmark are the Northern regions of Italy Venezio and Alto Adige not the warmer regions where this variety becomes a little blander in description due to too much heat.
A Closer Look at Suhru Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio was one of the first white wines Sue fancied when she first became interested in wine. The wide variation in the Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigios found around the world struck her interest and has captivated her ever since!
This strong interest in the variety has led to trips to France where Sue and Russ toured the regions of Loire, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace, Bordeaux, Languedoc, and Provence as well as trips to Italy where they spent time tasting their way through Tuscany, Piedmont, Alto Adige, Umbria,to name a few.
When first starting Suhru Wines and deciding on the varieties they would make, Sue knew that Pinot Grigio needed to be one of them. Being based on the North Fork of Long Island, our cool maritime climate offers ideal conditions for this variety as our long hot summers and cool fall nights create an ideal environment to grow the variety.
Our signature wine, the Suhru Pinot Grigio—made in both bottles and cans—is the first wine we chose to make when starting Suhru Wines. Pale straw yellow with an earthy aroma and hints of lemon zest on the nose, the Suhru Pinot Grigio has notes of granny smith apple and bosc pear.
Made entirely of Pinot Grigio fruit, this white wine was fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel tanks, resulting in a finished wine that accentuates the vibrant varietal fruit aromas and flavor while retaining a clean, crisp acidity that compliments the refreshing finish.
Recommended Food Pairings:
The crisp, bright flavors and refreshing acidity of our Pinot Grigio compliments a diverse range of foods. Try a glass of this Pinot Grigio with lighter flavors such as fish, salads, chicken, cheese, or a meatier fish like swordfish.
Some of our favorite pairings include: creamy cheeses like Brie or Camenbert, richers seafood dishes like lobster, scallops, or salmon, and Parmesan focused pasta dishes!Whatever you choose, the bright crisp finish makes this an excellent pairing wine, happy sipping!
This August we are celebrating a few of our favorite summer varieties with a Summer White's Pinot Trio featuring a pre-release of our 2019 Pinot Grigio paired with the 2015 Lenz Estate Pinot Gris, and the 2019 Lieb Estate Pinot Blanc!
Enjoy a personal tasting from the comfort of your home as you taste through a variety of pinot styles from three award-winning North Fork wineries!