June 2, 2012

Last year in the UK sales of Italian wines became the second most popular, behind Australian wines.  Of those sales 40% are Pinot Grigio. Once fashionable, then much maligned because of too many mass-produced bland examples; it seems to be flavour of the month again and it’s down to us, ladies.

Alledgedly “Women are becoming bored with traditional Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc”. Personally I will never be bored with the variety of wines Chardonnay can produce and I don’t know what they mean by “traditional” but I understand the sentiment, something that my customers seem to agree with too.

The flavour profile of Pinot Grigio rests pretty much smack in the middle of these two white wine counterparts; taking a little of each of their characteristics but more importantly not to excess. Generally crisp and citrus-like it can also be herbaceous, floral, fruity, creamy and sometimes spicey, oh and don’t forget the minerality.  What’s not to like about that?

With such a name you won’t be surprised to learn that it is grown mostly in Italy (the northern cooler climes) as well as in Alsace, France where it is known as Pinot Gris. The name comes from the greyish-red tinge of its skin. Because of that old “terroir” thing (as well as winemaking styles) the French versions of course taste different to the Italian ones and, very broadly speaking, can be slightly richer and are more likely to be oaked.

It is a very versatile food-friendly wine going extremely well with light and creamy pasta dishes and seafood, equally the more acidic examples would pair well with some Asian dishes, particularly those from Thailand. The creamier versions pair nicely with soft cheeses (think Brie and Camembert). So ladies (and probably a few gentlemen) it appears to be exactly what we are looking for at the time of writing there are two delicious Italian examples on my website – enjoy!!

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