PINOT GRIS/GRIGIO

      YOU PROBABLY ALREADY KNOW THAT PINOT GRIS AND PINOT GRIGIO ARE THE SAME WINE.  WHAT’S SURPRISING IS THAT THE GRAYISH-PURPLE GRAPE IS ALSO A MUTATION OF PINOT NOIR.  PINOT GRIS IS FAMOUS FOR ITS REFRESHING CITRUS FLAVOR AND ZESTY ACIDITY.

 

      PINOT GRIGIO OFTEN TASTES LESS SWEET THAN CHARDONNAY BECAUSE OF HIGH ACIDITY. THE PRIMARY FRUIT FLAVORS IN PINOT GRIGIO ARE LIME, LEMON, PEAR, WHITE NECTARINE AND APPLE. DEPENDING ON WHERE THE GRAPES ARE GROWN, PINOT GRIGIO CAN TAKE ON FAINT HONEYED NOTES; FLORAL AROMAS LIKE HONEYSUCKLE; AND A SALINE-LIKE MINERALITY. PINOT GRIGIO DOESN’T HAVE A STRIKINGLY UNIQUE FLAVOR THE WAY MOSCATO OR RIESLING DO, BUT IT DOES OFFER A REFRESHING TWINKLE OF ACIDITY AND A WEIGHTY FEELING ON THE MIDDLE OF YOUR TONGUE.

 

      THERE ARE TWO EXAMPLES WHERE PINOT GRIGIO IS SWEET. ONE EXAMPLE IS CHEAP SUPERMARKET PINOT GRIGIO DESIGNED TO WOO MID-WEEK WINE DRINKERS. THE SECOND (AND CONSIDERABLY MORE RARE) ARE THE SLIGHTLY SWEET PINOT GRIS FROM ALSACE.  ALSACE PINOT GRIS WINES MUST BE MADE WITH 100% PINOT GRIS GRAPES AND THEY TASTE VERY COMPLEX. YOU’LL DISCOVER SPICE NOTES OF CINNAMON, HONEY, CLOVE, MEYER LEMON AND GINGER PAIRED WITH A LOOOOONG TINGLY AFTERTASTE. LOOK FOR THE WORDS ‘VENDAGES TARDIVES’ AS A LATE HARVEST (EVEN SWEETER) DESSERT WINE OPTION.

 

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 AND EVEN ROMANIA, SLOVENIA AND HUNGARY. THE MOUNTAINS ARE A POWERFUL FORCE ON THE AGRICULTURE, INSURING THAT THE GRAPES KEEP THEIR HIGH ACIDITY. THIS STYLE IS THE QUINTESSENTIAL ‘PINOT GRIGIO,’ LOVED FOR ITS SIMPLICITY, ‘LACK OF FRUIT’ AND SOMETIMES SALINE QUALITY.

 

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 FERMENTATION — WHERE MALIC ACID IS THE HARSH ACID AND LACTIC ACID IS THE SMOOTH OILY ONE.

 

FRUITY & SWEET PINOT GRIGIO

      PERHAPS THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD THAT MAKES A QUALITY SWEETER-STYLE PINOT GRIS IS ALSACE, FRANCE. FOR CENTURIES ALSACE ATTEMPTED TO RECREATE THE INTENSELY SWEET WHITE WINE CALLED TOKAJI (“TOE-KYE”) DRUNK BY KINGS IN TRANSYLVANIA AND THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE (NOW HUNGARY). IN FACT, UP UNTIL 2007, ALSACE COULD USE THE WORDS “TOKAY D’ALSACE” ON THEIR BOTTLES OF PINOT GRIS!

     

      TODAY, ALSACE IS ONE OF THE ONLY REGIONS IN THE WORLD MAKING A SWEET STYLE OF PINOT GRIS. WITH FLAVORS OF SWEET LEMON CANDY, HONEYCOMB AND HONEY CRISP APPLES, WINEMAKERS APPLY VERY ADVANCED WINEMAKING TECHNIQUES TO INCREASE THE MOUTHFEEL TEXTURE AND USE LATE HARVEST AND NOBLE ROT GRAPES TO MAXIMIZE THE FLAVOR POTENTIAL.

 

      OREGON AND CALIFORNIA ARE ALSO GROWING THE GRAPE, OREGON HAVING SUCCESS WITH A MORE ALSATIAN STYLE AND CALIFORNIA PRODUCING BOTH. WINEMAKERS OFTEN CALL THE WINE BY THE STYLE THEY WISH TO REPLICATE – FOR ITALIAN STYLE, LOOK FOR PINOT GRIGIO; FOR THE ALSATIAN STYLE, LOOK FOR PINOT GRIS. IN ALSACE, PINOT GRIS CAN ALSO MAKES WINE WITH SOME RESIDUAL SUGAR. IT’S CAPABLE OF CREATING DELICIOUS DESSERT WINES IN THE REGION.

 

RED MEAT

PORK

POULTRY

CHICKEN, DUCK, TURKEY

SEAFOOD

TILAPIA, SCALLOPS, SEA BASS, PERCH, SOLE, HADDOCK, TROUT, COD, REDFISH, HALIBUT, SNAPPER, MUSSELS, CLAMS, OYSTERS, MAHI MAHI

CHEESE

LOOK FOR SEMI-SOFT TO FIRM COW’S AND SHEEP’S MILK CHEESES. GRUYERE, MUENSTER, GRANA PADANO

HERBS/SPICES

PARSLEY, MINT, TARRAGON, THYME, FENNEL, CHIVES, AND SPICES INCLUDING WHITE PEPPER, CORIANDER, FENNEL, TURMERIC, SAFFRON, GINGER, CINNAMON, CLOVE, ALLSPICE

VEGETABLES

FRESH VEGETABLES AND SALADS AS WELL AS BRAISED AND WELL-SPICED GREENS. USE SHALLOT, GARLIC AND GINGER AS A FLAVOR BASE. CUCUMBER, YELLOW SQUASH, CELERY, ONION, PARSNIP, JICAMA, KALE, GREEN APPLE, GREEN MELON, WHITE BEANS, CAULIFLOWER, BROCCOLI

 

NEED SOME IDEAS?

     GO FRESH. PINOT GRIS WITH ITS ZESTY AND REFRESHING ACIDITY PAIRS REALLY WELL WITH FRESH VEGETABLES,  WHITE MEATS, LIGHTER MEALS THAT INCLUDE A FRUIT ELEMENT SUCH AS LEMONS, ORANGES, PEACHES, OR APRICOTS,AND SEAFOOD SUCH AS RAW FISH AND SHELLFISH ARE CLASSIC PAIRING PARTNERS WITH PINOT GRIS.​

     SEAFOOD.  PAN SEARED LEMON TILAPIA WITH PARMESAN PASTA, MAHI MAHI TACOS WITH CILANTRO ANDA MANGO-PABLANO SALSA, GRILLED HALIBUT WITH CILANTRO GARLIC BUTTER

     

     CHICKEN.  CHICKEN ALFREDO PASTA, HERB ROASTED CHICKEN, PARMESAN CRUSTED CHICKEN, LEMON CHICKEN PICCATA

     

     PASTA. SPAGHETTI CARBONARA, CREAMY SMOKED SALMON PASTA, SHRIMP SCAMPI WITH LINGUINE, BASIL PESTO PASTA

     

     PORK.  SHEET PAN PARMESAN PORK CHOPS WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES,  ROAST PORK AND MASHED POTATOES

     

     APPETIZERS. CEVICHE, SUSHI, OYSTER ROCKEFELLER, MOZZARELLA AND BASIL ON CAPRESE TOAST, SEAFOOD TOSTADA BITES