Three countries, three names: In Alsace, France; Pinot Gris can be a crisp flavourful honey colour dry wine or a sweet desert wine thanks to the grapes susceptibility to noble rot. Italy’s more acidic Pinot Grigio is riding along with the boom in Italian wine sales. Germany meanwhile names it Rulander where it is full bodied and slightly sweeter.
Many see it as a fashionable alternative to Chardonnay.
Wine experts laud the Alsace product, thanking climatic conditions which allow the development of full flavours. The low acidity of this white variety helps produce rich, lightly perfumed wines. Skin colour ranges from white to grey/blue leading to darker shades than other whites. It produces crispy, almond, lemon and vanilla flavours and often goes well with seafood and salmon.
Switzerland and Austria also produce dry variants. Germany and notably Romania use it in desert wines.
New Zealand succeeds in rivalling Alsace, it’s popular in Washington and in South Australia and Tasmania. South Africa, South America and others have modest plantings. Both the Gris and Grigio monikers are used reflecting the European styles.