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.
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.
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