5 Things You Don’t Know About Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio is a red grape.
While it makes an exquisite white wine, the Pinot Grigio grape appears blue-gray in color—much closer to a typical red grape than a white one. In fact, Pinot Grigio is a lighter colored mutation of one of the world’s great red grapes: Pinot Noir. Researchers at U.C. Davis have determined this color change occurred centuries ago and the DNA of Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio remains remarkably similar.
Pinot Grigio is a child of the 1970s.
At least in America, Pinot Grigio wines were relatively unknown until its introduction by wine importer Tony “The Father of Pinot Grigio” Terlato in 1979. Despite its recent arrival in the U.S., the variety has been known in Burgundy since the Middle Ages. Flash forward to today, and Pinot Grigio is finally fulfilling its destiny as a luxury wine.
Pinot Grigio is fine wine.
While Pinot Grigio is certainly able to yield light, refreshing and quaffable white wines, the best Pinot Grigio, from the finest growing region of Italy’s Friuli Colli Orientali, combines complexity with drinkability. Terlato Vineyards Pinot Grigio Friuli, for example, is a mouth-filling symphony of flavors, able to rival any white wine with its layers of ripe peach, apricot and pear.
Pinot Grigio has terroir.
Terroir, that French word for a wine’s unmistakable sense of place, isn’t just for fancy Cabernet. In the Friuli Colli Orientali region of Italy, ponca soil, consisting of marl, schist and sandstones, manifests its mineral character in the region’s vibrant Pinot Grigio. The Terlato Pinot Grigio estate vineyards, nestled in the region’s foothills and tempered by the Adriatic Sea, enjoy a long growing season resulting in richly layered flavors.
Pinot Grigio has style!
Actually, it has many of them. In Alsace, where it goes by “Pinot Gris,” the wines are generally rich and often sweet. Pinot Grigio can also be found in sparkling wine and dessert wines. However, it’s the new luxury Pinot Grigios of Friuli Colli Orientali, with their flavorful and vibrant expression of the grape, that seems to have wine lovers most excited right now. Sales of luxury wines ($15 and up) from Friuli have soared 56% over the last year!
(source): Nielsen US xAOC by Origin, 52 weeks ending 6.18.16