Well the simple answer is, it’s sort of simple! Each region has a style, and much like the use of Shiraz and Syrah to indicate which style a wine is made in, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are there to help you understand what’s in the bottle. Well, sort of. Pinot Grigio, which people are probably more familiar with, is the Italian name for this grape, and usually indicates that the wine is made in the style more closely associated with Italian producers. Pinot Gris, on the other hand is the French name, and usually indicates that the style of the wine is similar to that produced in Alsace, France's heart of Pinot Gris production.
Want to know more about Pinot?Whatever your Pinot preference, Snooth has the info you need. Don't miss our round-up of 8 New Zealand Pinot Noir producers to watch, our recommendations for Pacific Northwest Pinot, or our feature on California Pinot Grigio.
Pinot Gris, on the other hand, comes from France, and Alsace in particular, where the wines can be rich and muscular, sometimes with a touch of residual sugar. This style tends to emphasize richness and body over crispness, and delivers lush, layered flavors of honied orchard fruits interwoven with subtle spice tones.
As you can see, there are significant differences between these two styles and, of course, a lot of overlap between them. It’s a generalization, but usually the name will give you an idea of the style. Whole regions -- like Oregon, for example -- have tended to follow one style or another (which in Oregon’s case is the Alsatian model). Ultimately, there’s only one sure way to determine exactly what’s in the bottle, and that’s to drink it! So without further ado, here's 12 great ways to say Pinot Gigio/Gris!