Friday, April 18, 2008

You say Pinot Grigio, I say Pinot Gris!

Last week we were bombarded with Pinot Gris - the "Grey Grape" and favorite quaff of housewives the world over. While being made from the same grape, in France the wine made from Pinot Gris is called Pinot Gris (surprised?) while in Italy it is named Pinot Grigio. Since the Italian style is more fruity, New World producers usually refer to their versions as Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio depending on how fruity their winemaking style is.

Normally Pinot Gris is processed like most whites - immediately de-stemmed, crushed, pressed and then usually fermented in stainless steel tank (for some creaminess some winemakers may also ferment a small portion of the final blend in barrel). However Pinot Gris may also be left on its skins for a short period before pressing - the juice picks up some pinkish-grey coloring (which will fall out during fermentation owing to its instability) but it also develops some floral characters which is appealing.

Below are two press loads of Pinot Gris that we processed at the same time last week. The first press held grapes that were left on their skins overnight and the other was full of grapes that were pressed immediately after crushing.

Notice the very different coloration. I will let you know about any different flavors and aromas that develop after fermentation - I know I am excited whether you are or not is another matter!


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