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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

The Other Pinot’s

Posted: May 1, 2007
by: Susan Anderson

Pinot Grigio is the common Italian name for the French wine variety Pinot Gris and as such, is probably the name by which the variety is best known to many wine drinkers. Pinot Gris is a mutation of the Pinot Noir grape. If Pinot Noir berries are purplish blue and the berries of the related Pinot Blanc (a white mutation of Pinot Gris) are greenish yellow, Pinot Gris grapes are anything between greyish blue and brownish pink – sometimes on the same bunch. And at one time Pinot Gris habitually grew in among the Pinot Noir of many Burgundian vineyards adding softness and sometimes acidity to the Pinot Noir.Pinotgrigio

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are actually the same white grape, with two different names. In Italy and California this wine is known as Pinot Grigio, while in Oregon and France it's known as Pinot Gris. Other countries use the terms interchangeably.

Most Pinot Grigio wines are produced in Italy. The Italian version of Pinot Grigio is typically dry (not sweet) and light, with a mineral taste and many times a bitter almond finish. Californian variants of Pinot Grigio tend to be richer in flavor, but still have the mineral taste. Often, they finish with a lemony or citrusy flavor.

French Pinot Gris wines come from the Alsace region. These are more fruity and flowery than their Italian counterparts, though they still have that mineral aroma. Flavors can range from peach to grapefruit to melon.

Pinot Blanc is more about texture and acidity and less about aroma and flavor.  While it doesn’t provide much of an aroma, Pinot Blanc will make your mouth water and provide a very viscous or creamy texture. In Italy it is known as Pinot Bianco and is one of the varietals used in Soave, Vin Santo and Spumante.

In Alsace, the best examples of Pinot Blanc are immediately appealing, offering a delightful plumpness, rich, ripe, juicy fruit with apple-y flavors and floral aromas.

In the 1980’s, several California winemakers began using the same techniques in making Pinot Blanc as used to make expensive Chardonnay. So Pinot Blanc became another complex, oaky masterpiece of some California winemakers, rivaling the biggest and best Chardonnay.

Here are some pinot’s to try:

Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio Collio 2005
Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio/Verduzzo Friuli Venezia 2005
Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia IGT 2005
Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio Trentino Alto-Adige 2005

Oregon/Washington State/California
Chateau Ste Michelle Pinot Gris Columbia Valley 2005
King Estate Domaine Pinot Gris Oregon 2005
Chalone Pinot Blanc Estate 2005
Valley of the Moon Pinot Blanc Sonoma County 2005

Alsace, France
Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve 2002
Lucien Albrecht Pinot Blanc 2005

New Zealand
Nobilo Pinot Gris East Coast Regional Collection 2006

Enjoy! Susan Anderson

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