Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio? The trendiest white wines!

Until winemakers worldwide manage to convince us that Riesling has returned or Chardonnay should be rediscovered, the trendiest white wines will continue to be made from the grape known as Pinot Gris in France – also known as Pinot Grigio in Italy, Grauburgunder in Austria and Szürkebarát in Hungary.

French Pinot Gris is grown primarily in Alsace where it is allowed and encouraged to become fully ripe.

Leaner and lighter in style, Italian Pinot Grigio is grown in Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in the north-east and arguably at its best in the Alto Adige along the border with Switzerland.

Winemakers often name their wines Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio depending on whether they believe their wines reflect the Alsatian or the Italian style.

They use the same wine grapes, despite the different names.

Inexpensive International Canadian Blended (ICB) wines are made primarily from imported wines brought into the country in container tanker-loads from almost anywhere in the wine world and may – or may not – contain some Canadian grown grapes or wine.

Jackson Triggs Pinot Grigio (789982) $9.49 is just such an ICB wine. It is light and floral and full of apple and ripe pear and peach flavours that make it much fruitier than any Italian Grigio. Chill this white down and serve it alone or paired with almost any light dish.

In that same ICB category XO XO Pinot Gris + Chardonnay (754176) $10.49 enhances similar tree fruit flavours by adding a dash of honeyed and lightly oaked Chardonnay for a denser texture and hints of melon.

High-volume ICB domestic wines from BC’s Big Three – Arterra, Andrew Peller and Mark Anthony – sometimes confuse the Grigio vs. Gris, style/name rationale. Italian wines seldom make the same mistake.

Citra Pinot Grigio Terre Di Chieti (539312) $12.99 comes from the Abruzzo region of eastern Italy. The lemon and lime notes that it features finish wine a subtly salty twist. In turn that same salty sweetness enhances the citric fruitiness of the wine.

Cool-climate growing regions like British Columbia are proving to be perfect for growing richer Pinot Gris. Sharing similar conditions, New Zealand’s grape growers and winemakers have also embraced Pinot Gris wholeheartedly.

From the Nelson region on New Zealand’s South Island Kono Nelson Pinot Gris (472225) $15.99 features extravagant aromas and flavours of fresh-cut apple, ripe pear and honeyed cantaloupe melon. Despite the ripe fruit notes, this white finished with enough natural acidity to cleanse the palate between sips.

Here in British Columbia our wines offer a wide range of styles depending on where the grapes are grown as well as the winemakers’ preferences. And Gris/Grigios are some of the most popular wines in our local wineries’ portfolios.

Amazingly affordable for a rich and fruity style, Mount Boucherie Pinot Gris (602094) $17.99 is a full-bodied white with spicy pear and honey notes, off-set by bright lemony acidity. This is 100 per cent Pinot Gris grown in their own vineyards in the Similkameen Valley.

On Vancouver Island, serious grape winemaking began after a provincial government-funded trial – the Duncan Project – assessed around 100 different varieties between 1983 and 1990, identifying Pinot Gris, Auxerrois and Ortega as promising varieties for the Island’s cool, moist climate.

Vancouver Island’s Blue Grouse winery dates back to 1988 when Dr. Hans Kiltz and his wife Evangeline bought the test acres from Westwood Vineyards. And Blue Grouse’s wines have only improved through those 30 years.

Their ‘Quill’ label, introduced in 2014, allows the winemaker, Bailey Williamson, to express his talents. Their goal with these cross-regional BC blends is to strike a balance between the lean, crisp grapes grown on Vancouver Island and the riper fruit-forward grapes from the Okanagan.

Two thirds of the grapes in Blue Grouse Quill Pinot Gris (4487) $19.65 come from Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley and a third come from the Okanagan Valley. The grapes were fermented separately in stainless steel and then blended together.

This lively white overflows with aromas and flavours of apricot and pear and finishes with a splash of lemon and lime.

Sample Blue Grouse’s finest wines at the Campbell River Daybreak Rotary Wine & Blues Fest on Saturday June 9 at the Maritime Heritage Centre. Advance tickets are available for $60 at the Tidemark Theater. After May 31 tickets are $75.

Reach WineWise by emailing douglas_sloan@yahoo.com

Just Posted

Walking for a cure for arthritis

First Campbell River Arthritis Walk will take place June 2 at Rotary Beach Park

‘We are all on a journey’

Local Hero Awards celebrate community members making a positive difference

Campbell River district adding transition funds for kindergarten kids

School district using previous years’ surplus to balance books

Wildfire near Quinsam Coal Mine

The suspected cause of the fire is being as listed human caused at this time

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

Suspected scammer attempts to use Black Press newspaper to dupe woman

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre offers tips after Langley resident received suspicious call

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

COLUMN: Women’s breasts really aren’t that big a deal

A follow on some Princeton, B.C., students gained considerable exposure when they dropped their bras

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

British Columbia Burning written by CBC journalist Bethany Lindsay

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Catalyst Paper to sell U.S. mills to Chinese company

Sale will allow company to focus on B.C. interests, says president Ned Dwyer

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Most Read