copyright 2009, Maria Liberati
Pinot Gris, has delighted the lips of wine-lovers for centuries. Its origins can be traced back to Burgundy, France (where it is called Pinot Beurot), but today, the prominent areas of Pinot Gris production are Alsace, France and Oregon in the United States.
Yes. Oregon’s mild summers provide a perfect match for the needs and temperaments of the Pinot Gris grapes. The grapes are usually bluish-gray (“gris” means “gray” in French) or pinkish-brown in color and are simply a natural mutation of the Pinot Noir grape. They grow best in temperate environments with warm—not hot— summers and cool autumns. Depending on where in the world the grapes are grown, the taste and color of the wine varies.
Oregon Pinot Gris wines can be described as medium-bodied with a crisp taste, fruity aroma, and yellow-copper color. Pinot Gris from Alsace are less fruity; the flavor is more potent and full-bodied, the aroma more floral. A significant amount of Pinot Gris is also produced in Italy, where it is known as Pinot Grigio. Italian Pinot Grigio has a very neutral yet crisp flavor and is light in both body and color.
Vineyards around the world produce different styles of Pinot Gris. In Oregon, the production began with Eyrie Vineyards, who, led by David Lett in the late 1960s, were the first to grow and produce Pinot Gris in the United States. Zind Humbrecht is a domain that owns 10 or more vineyards in Alsace and boasts their impressive hand at making Pinot Gris, as well as a selection of other wines. Friuli, the area of Italy that generates the most Pinot Gris, contains hundreds of vineyards and wineries that specialize in the creation of this dry, white wine.
In terms of food pairings, Pinot Gris goes great with seafood—especially shrimp and crab—as well as light pastas or even white meats. It would be best to stray from pairing acidic or citrus foods with Pinot Gris because the wine is acidic enough on its own. This wine would be a fantastic accompaniment to this month’s recipe.
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