A cold glass of Pinot Grigio on a warm summer evening, with a bit of Gouda cheese on the side: sounds like perfection. This spritz, refreshing, and bright white wine is America’s favorite. After all, even when the sales of other white wines declined with the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States sales of Pinot Grigio had almost a twenty percent increase.
With its widespread popularity across the country, chances are that you have given it a try, too. It might just be your favorite summer wine because of its inimitable crispness and flavor. How much do you know about this delicious wine?
Pour yourself a glass of Pinot Grigio and read on to know five fun facts about it.
1. Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio come from the same grape
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are both made from the same kind of grapes, with the only difference being location. Pinot Grigio hails from Italy, while Pinot Gris comes from France. You might see both of these names used interchangeably. It is essential to mention that though the variety is popular as distinctly Italian, it also comes from France. The original name is Pinot Gris. The word ‘Gris’ or ‘Grigio’ in this case means gray, which refers to the grayish-blue shade of the berries.
Interestingly, unlike other white wines, Pinot Grigio is not made from green grapes. This wine is pretty unique from the start. A mutation of color found in the red grape Pinot Noir in Burgundy has led to Pinot Grigio or Gris growth.
2. The flavor depends on the grape-growing region
You will not find the same flavor in all Pinot Grigio wines because it changes with the area where the grapes are grown. Though the wine has originated in Italy, some of its best styles come from Alsace. The volcanic soil and the cooler climate of Alsace, along with a long growing season and a dry autumn, give the grapes a longer hang-time. The resulting fruit is more mature and creates a balanced and sweeter wine.
On the other hand, the ones that come from Italy are a bit more acidic and drier by nature. Oregon wines are medium-bodied with delicious fruity aromas reminding one of melon, apples and pears. California Pinot Grigio is lighter-bodied and has a hint of crispiness.
3. Great white wine for your summer dishes
Because of its lightness, Pinot Grigio is an excellent choice to pair with some of your favorite meals. It adds much-needed richness to the dishes without overpowering them in a way that something like Chardonnay would do. You have a wide range of choices. It tastes fantastic with creamy pasta, Thai curries, roasted chicken, sautéed clams and grilled fish. Even a simple recipe with potatoes and herbs can be uplifted with Pinot Grigio.
There is no denying that the wine tastes heavenly when you have it solo, but it’s also an exceptional choice for enhancing your average weekend dinners. Let Pinot Grigio be your secret ingredient, and keep the guests guessing what it is.
4. Pinot Grigio is one of those ‘early to market’ kinds of wines
This means it goes into the bottles and reaches the market within about 4-12 weeks after fermentation. It has to go straight to your table from the winery, instead of spending much time in the cellar. You should open and consume Pinot Grigio while it’s still young.
Although these wines are not meant for aging, the Alsatian styles are an exception. The perfect balance of acidity, along with the residual sugars, makes many Alsatian varieties cellar-worthy for 5-10 years.
5. The wine has a long and glorious history
The beautiful Pinot Grigio has an illustrious history, and it has come a long way in all these years.
Burgundy is the birthplace of Pinot Gris wine, but around the 1300s, it found its way to Switzerland, where it became the emperor’s favorite. The wine traveled from here to northern Italy, where the real journey of Pinot Grigio began.
In Italy, Pinot Gris turned to Pinot Grigio and earned immense popularity in northeastern Italy, such as Friuli and Lombardy. After getting a firm footing in Italy, it traveled to the United States. It wasn’t long before this wine became the most in-demand imported white wine all over the country.
A glass of Pinot Grigio on a hot summer day is as refreshing as lemonade. No wonder it’s a favorite of many. Now you are prepared with some intriguing facts about this famous wine. The next time you sit around with friends and family sipping on this lovely white wine, you are ready to impress them with your knowledge.
About the Author: Rebecca Siggers has been a wine lover and blogger for the last 5 years. She’s been to Napa Valley and is an avid traveler. Through her writing she wants to spread love for wine all over the world.