Pinot Grigio to Pinot Gris: Italy, France and Oregon

Pinot Gris grapesThe summer months have come upon us and hopefully you, like I, have ventured into the realm of light white wines, namely or Pinot Gris (same grape, French style). In Italian is light and crisp notably different from the creamier minerality and fruitier nature of Pinot Gris in France and Oregon. Alsatian Pinot Gris has a heavier viscosity like that of a Riesling, as Alsace borders Germany and at one point was part of the German Republic. Last week I had the opportunity to drink Villa Dugo , O’Reilley Pinot Gris (a Oregon Pinot Gris done in the French style) and Cleebourg’s Alsatian Pinot Gris, all great yet different examples of this light white varietal.

Villa Dugo is Fiegl’s second label, their Pinot Grigio is indicative of this Italian varietal with a nose and palate that are light with hints of fruit yet crisp, leaving a refreshing finish on the back end. The farming company Fiegl, active primarily in the field of products, is located in Oslavia, a village on the gentle slopes north of Gorizia. This light and crisp Pinot Grigio would go well with fresh shellfish and lighter fare.

O’Reilly Pinot Gris is a classic Oregon Gris done in the French Style – plenty of limey aromas with rich guava-like flavors, heavier in fruit than the former Pinot Grigio. Hallmark acidity will preserve this white in your cellar for up to five years. The grapes were harvested from a few diverse sites in the Willamette Valley. This ripe and flavorful Pinot Gris is delicious with fresh shellfish and a variety of light fare.

Cleebourg Alsatian Pinot Gris resembles a more German style of wine making. Alsace is located in France on the Rhine River. The name “Alsace” derives from the Germanic Ell-sass, meaning “Seated on the Ill,” the Ill is a river in Alsace. First appearing in the area in the 1700s and probably the most complex of all the Alsatian wine varietals, this grape is particularly well adapted to the soils of the Cléebourg area. It has a golden hue with a higher viscosity than either of the previous Pinots, due to higher sugar content. This Pinot Gris grape produces a heady, full-bodied wine with a rich bouquet. It goes well with dark meats, foie gras and wild game.

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