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Pinot Grigio is not just the zippy mouth-moisturizer you might have assumed. There are actually 3 main types that have some notable differences between them.
Minerally & Dry Pinot Grigio
This style is most famous from the northern parts of Italy and traverses the foothills of the Alps nearly all the way from Italy through Austria. The mountains are a powerful force on the agriculture, insuring that the grapes keep their high acidity. Expect exceptionally dry whites that pair perfectly with mussels, french fries and hot summer days. This style is the quintessential ‘Pinot Grigio,’ loved for its simplicity, ‘lack of fruit’ and sometimes saline quality.
Regions with cooler climate tend to produce wines in this style including: Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto and Lombardy, Italy
Fruity & Dry Pinot Gris
Winemakers often choose the word Pinot Gris to describe this fruit-driven style of Pinot Gris. You’ll be able to pick out lemon, yellow apple and white peach among the flavors that you smell. This presence of more fruit in the aroma tells us that these wines grew in a more sun-friendly climate. Besides just the fruity aromas, the wines have less intense acidity and more of an ‘oily’ textured mouthfeel. This is because winemakers often add a special bacteria after the alcohol fermentation that ‘eats’ sharp acids and ‘poops out’ smooth acids. This process is called Malolactic Fermentataion — where Malic acid is the harsh acid and lactic acid is the smooth oily one.
Several of the countries that make this style are New World wine regions:
From the exceptional 2017 vintage, this Pinot Gris is pale straw in colour with subtle floral aromas of frangipani, lychee pear & peach with a touch of flintiness.
Delicious purity of fruit with tropical fruit, apple & pear, followed by a zesty mid palate & balanced mineral finish
A delicious Pinot Gris from one of Australia's most respected wine growers - David Paxton. Paxton's organic wines are produced on Biodynamic principles without the use of synthetic fertilisers or pesticides with a focus on promoting healthy, living soils.
90pts - James Halliday
The (very) cool South Gippsland area is not as known for Pinot Grigio (also called Pinot Gris) as it is for Pinot Noir & Chardonnay, yet this local expression is a stellar example of what can be achieved with juicy Grigio grapes & some old-fashioned love, care & attention to detail. The Bellvale Winery succeeds in marrying the acidity & roundness of the traditional Italian style with refreshing, harmonious notes of stone fruit & pear. This is a subtle and aromatic white wine, smoothly textured with a delicate, clean mouth feel.
"Three clones, cool fermented, aged for 4 months on stirred lees, some in used oak barrels. The result is a wine with freshness its raison d'etre, the oak an input to texture, not flavour. Nashi pear & apple fill the palate nicely before acidity trims the finish." - James Halliday