Celebrate Pinot Gris Day With Us!
Whilst the correct name for today might be Pinot Grigio Day, if you have read our other blog here, you will already know that Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same grape variety!
So, without further ado, let us celebrate Pinot Gris today with our delicious Strelley Farm Estate 2021 Pinot Gris!
What is the history of Pinot Gris?
Pinot Gris (pea-no gree), also known as Pinot Grigio, is an aromatic white variety that dates back to the Middle Ages in Burgundy, France, however it wasn't until 1375 that it was planted in other parts of Europe, including what is now France, Germany, Italy and Austria.
Pinot Gris is actually a sibling of Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc and is easily identified with its greyish pink berries. This is actually how the variety was named, with both the French ‘gris’ and Italian ‘grigio’ translating to ‘grey’.
Pinot Gris is now most famously produced in the Alsace region in north-east France where it represents some of the highest quality dry and sweet wines, classified as Grand Cru. Pinot Gris from this region also plays an important role in the production of their sparkling wine, Crémant d'Alsace.
Outside of Europe, Pinot Gris is also grown in the US (Oregon, Washington State and California), New Zealand and here in Australia.
Fun fact: Historians have discovered that Pinot Gris was mentioned in the early writings of Roman historians and dates back to BC times!
What does Pinot Gris taste like?
Pinot Gris is a naturally aromatic grape and wines are usually dry (not sweet) with a high acidity. Flavours can be anywhere from floral and fruit-forward, to flinty and smoky, or spicy and honeyed.
Most Australian Pinot Gris is unpretentious, offering fresh and playful expressions with an array of bright and vibrant flavours. Wines can exhibit strong citrus notes such as lemon and lime alongside green apples and pear. Floral, ginger and honeysuckle can also be present in more complex examples.
The zippy acidity in Pinot Gris means wines are also popular food wines. Think butter sauces, light fish and seafood – the more herbs the better!
Pinot Gris wines with some residual sugar are also the perfect match to spicy Thai dishes, or anything with a hint of chilli.
What's the difference between Australian Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio?
Although they are the same grape variety, wines labelled with Pinot Gris can often be stylistically different to wines labelled Pinot Grigio.
Pinot Gris often has a small portion of barrel ferment in the final blend, producing more full-bodied styles with pear, honey and spice characters.
Pinot Grigio is often cold fermented in stainless steel tank. This gives a wine that is more mineral, zesty and acid-driven in comparison.
Pinot Gris in Tasmania
Did you know that Pinot Gris was first brought to Australia in 1832? It wasn’t until the 1990s that this aromatic variety really gained popularity with wine drinkers around the country!
As Jane Faulkner from the Halliday Wine Companion sums up: "Not all Pinot Gris is created equal. It is a cool or mild climate variety". Winemakers and viticulturists around the country realised this very early on and plantings started to quickly increase in cooler climate wine regions such as the Mornington Peninsula, Adelaide Hills and Tasmania.
On Pinot Gris in Tasmania, Faulkner said: "Tasmania’s Pinot Gris is worth seeking out, as it often has the weight, spice, aromatics and acidity that makes the best examples so flavoursome, food-friendly and complex."
"Cool fermented, 10% in seasoned French oak barrels. Confidently orbiting at the richer end of the Gris universe, this is a full and fleshy rendition, loaded with ripe pear, honey and mixed spice. Fruit sweetness, integrated acidity and firm phenolic bite unite to find balance, if not grace."
- Tyson Stelzer, Halliday Wine Companion 2023
This is an incredible, rich expression of cool climate Tasmanian Pinot Gris. Fermented at cooler temperatures in stainless steel tanks with a small portion fermented in old French oak and blended back to add depth and complexity.
This wine bursts with poached pear, nectarine and white florals such as jasmine and apple blossom. Richly layered with flavours of red apple, stone fruit and subtle baking spice.
Shop this delicious Tasmanian Pinot Noir here.