Pinot Grigio is a clone of the Pinot Gris grape grown in Italy. Pinot Gris is a white wine grape. Thought to be a mutant clone of the Pinot Noir variety, it normally has a grayish-blue fruit, accounting for its name (gris meaning “gray” in French) but the grapes can have a brownish pink to black and even white appearance. The word pinot, which comes from the word meaning “pine cone” in French, could have been given to it because the grapes grow in small pine cone-shaped clusters. The wines produced from this grape also vary in color from a deep golden yellow to copper and even a light shade of pink. Researchers have determined that Pinot Gris has a remarkably similar DNA profile to Pinot Noir and that the color difference is derived from a genetic mutation that occurred centuries ago. The leaves and the vines of both grapes are so similar that the coloration is the only aspect that differentiates the two.
Pinot Grigio is more than just the Italian name for the Pinot Gris grape variety; it also embodies stylistic differences. ‘Pinot Grigio’ wines are typically quite different from ‘Pinot Gris’ wines, even though they are made from the same variety. The difference is so well established that the two are often treated as distinct varieties.
The Grigio style is achieved by harvesting the grapes relatively early, which helps to retain the variety’s naturally high acidity. The most common descriptors of the style are ‘light’, ‘crisp’ and ‘dry’. These characteristics are complemented by aroma notes citing lemon, green apple and blossoms. Pinot Grigio wines are almost always intended for consumption within a year or two of harvest, so extended cellaring is neither required nor advisable.
At Four Leaves Winery we work with a true Pinot Grigio grape; however, through the introduction of oak during the fermentation process we add palate weight and sweet vanilla-like aromas. Traditional Pinot Grigio wines are crisp, floral, clean and simple but with the addition of oak our Pinot Girgio is richer, weightier and more complex both in terms of mouth feel and aromatics. Whether you are a fan of the Grigio style or the Gris style come give our Pinot Grigio a try. We offer a unique wine not found anywhere else and are confident this will become a new favorite for you.