Pinot Grigio, or Pinot Gris, is a grape with origins in the Burgundy region. Today the grape is found being grown all over the world with key plantings in Alsace, Northern Italy, Germany, the US and Australia. The fact that in the UK we typically call it Pinot Grigio, the Italian naming of the grape, shows where loyalties lie on our shores. Italian Pinot Grigio is usually very dry but with plenty of acidity.
Despite the popularity of Italian Pinot Grigio, it’s the most imported white wine in the US, it isn’t without its detractors. Too simple, boring even, is often how many in the wine world perceive Pinot Grigio. Perhaps its popularity plays a part in this; the more popular a wine is, the larger number of bad examples you will find of it.
It doesn’t need to be like this however. Pinot Gris grown in the new world is coming of age and picking up numerous awards for complex, fresh fruity examples. In Northern Italy you will find well-crafted Pinot Grigio wines that bring out the best in the grape. Zesty fruit flavours, backed with the high acidity. Wherever grown, you’ll always get a wonderfully refreshing wine.
Best served well chilled, these wines pair with light dishes; fresh fish or sea food, a zesty Pinot Grigio is the perfect food match. You could even enjoy it with semi-soft cheeses such as Grana Padano or Gruyere.
I’ve asked our wine experts to suggest some of the best examples from our wine list. Our 5 of the best from Italy and beyond. Read on and let us know if you agree in the comments below.
Collio Pinot Grigio, Tenuta Sant’ Helena, Fantinel >
From the sleepy little town of Spilimbergo in the heart of the Friuli region. Surrounded by the eastern ‘arm’ of the Alps on gravel-rich soils, the family-owned winery of Fantinel was established in 1969 by Mario ‘Paron’ Fantinel.
This Tenuta Sant’ Helena range of wines come from lower yielding vines in the Collio region. Fantinel selects the best grapes from these vineyards to make this excellent wine. It’s a truly premium quality example of this famous grape. It shows intense fruity aromas, flavours and a rich, structured palate, a true favourite here.
Bocelli Pinot Grigio delle Venezie >
Bocelli? Isn’t that the Italian tenor who’s sold over 70 million albums? The very same. Classical music artist Andrea Bocelli, along with brother Alberto, run this family winery the Colli Euganei region near Padua.
It was originally the family farm before Andrea’s grandfather developed a family skill for making wine. These original wines were made in a traditional way still used today. All the grapes for Bocelli Family Wines are hand-harvested, the vineyards are farmed without irrigation and no pesticides or chemical agents are used in them.
The hand-harvested grapes used in the Pinot Grigio, are crushed and fermented in stainless steel at cool temperatures, the wine spends about two months on its lees before bottling. The result is a wine which shows citrussy aromas, white flower blossom and a hint of mint, backed by a zesty and fresh palate.
Vinuva Organic Pinot Grigio, Terre Siciliane >
The Vinuva range is exclusively produced for Matthew Clark and designed with the On-Trade in mind. Grapes are notoriously difficult to grow organically without the use of synthetic herbicides, fertilisers and pesticides: their thin skins and sweet contents are a target for many vineyard pests. However, the entire range of Vinuva wines are made from organically grown grapes on the island of Sicily without using any nasties.
This typically dry and delicate Pinot Grigio is one of the best examples we believe you can find at its price point. Hints of elderflower and pear on the nose with crisp apple and a bracing, fresh palate.
Ceres Pinot Gris, Central Otago >
A fine example of a New World Pinot Gris is this award winning wine from New Zealand. Artisan producers Ceres Wines have a real knack for bringing out the best in grapes and with Pinot Gris they have repeated the success of their Pinot Noir, winner of the coveted International Wine and Spirit Competition Bouchard Finlayson trophy.
The grapes are processed in the absence of oxygen to ensure the delicate fruit aromas are retained. The juice is settled overnight and cool-fermented to further maximize the aromas. All components of this wine were left on gross lees for four months after fermentation, with weekly stirring to enhance texture and depth of flavour. The wine is medium-dry and shows refreshing yellow stone fruit, floral and steely, mineral aromas, with tropical fruits and flinty nuances. Wonderful.
Dashwood Pinot Gris, Marlborough >
Dashwood has been producing wines to truly represent New Zealand’s Marlborough region for almost 30 years. With every step of the winemaking process, the goal is to uphold the incredible aromatics of their wines. This Pinot Gris is kept in stainless steel tanks to maintain zesty fruit characteristics. The aromas balance carefully with a firm minerality in this fruit driven wine.
Spiced Pink Lady apple, quince and ripe Poire William flavours are backed with hints of chai spice. Soft textured, creamy and exquisitely balanced by a hint of honey and a gentle citrus backbone. An extremely versatile food wine, perfectly made for adventurous food menus.
Our full range of wines can be found by clicking here. Get in touch with your account manager about we can help develop your range or click here to arrange a meeting with one of our team.
We would love to know what you think, let us know in the comments!