Curious Small Sips #28: Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris grapes are among the most versatile wine grapes

Pinot Grigio is an incredibly adaptable grape, making it one of the most popular among winemakers globally. (Which accounts for its frankly ridiculous number of aliases: 227 in total.)

On the one hand, Pinot Grigio can be harvested early and give you crisp, light-bodied, acidic wines (Italy, California), perhaps not always the most sophisticated or long-lingering, but goodness, so wonderfully approachable.

On the other hand, Pinot Grigio can be harvested later and used to make full-bodied, spicier wines that cling like an oily nectar to your tongue. These wines are traditionally associated with the Alsace region of France (where the grape is called Pinot Gris) and New World regions such as South Australia, Washington, Oregon, New Zealand.

But, being so flexible, you’ll find wines in either style in many countries.

While Pinot Grigio is predominantly used in white wines, it is actually a reddish skinned grape — in fact, it’s only a single genetic mutation away from Pinot Noir — but most winemakers take the skins away after crushing and before fermentation to ensure the wine produced is white.

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