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Pour Yourself a Glass... of New Zealand Pinot Gris

  • by Mikela Dennison

Tuesday May 17th 2022 marks International Pinot Gris Day - and we reckon it's the perfect opportunity to share some information and food pairing ideas for this delicious grape varietal. 

What is Pinot Gris, and what does it taste like?  

Pinot Gris is actually a pretty pink variation (or mutation) of the Pinot Noir grape. 

This crowd-pleasing aromatic white wine is usually dry in style, with a medium-light body, medium-high acidity, and no tannins. The characteristic flavours of Pinot Gris are stone fruit, lemon zest, and melon. 

According to the New Zealand Wine industry body, Pinot Gris broke on to the New Zealand scene in the early 1990s, and has enjoyed a dramatic rise to fame ever since. In fact, today, Pinot Gris is now New Zealand's third most popular white variety.

Is Pinot Gris the same as Pinot Grigio? 

While they are the same wine varietal, some wine is known as Gris and some as Grigio, and this is dependant on how they are made. 

New Zealand Pinot Gris is more similar to French (Alsace) Pinot Gris, which is usually richer, more full bodied, and has more texture than Pinot Grigio, which is the the drier, crisper, and fruitier Italian equivalent.

Winemaking for Pinot Gris

Our chief winemaker Sam Bennett loves the use of a portion of barrel-fermentation on our Pinot Gris, particularly for our flagship te Pa Pinot Gris

Using wild yeasts, and lees stirring are also common winemaking practices in New Zealand to build texture, mouthfeel and complexity.

What makes Pinot Gris from Marlborough special? 

The cooler South Island produces tighter wines with great structure, and persistence with a focus on pristine, pure aromatics and flavours of white peach, red apple skin and cinnamon.

A great example of Marlborough Pinot Gris, is our delicious Montford Estate Pinot Gris. Check it out by clicking here.

Which foods pair best with Pinot Gris?  

As a general rule of thumb, Pinot Gris works well with dishes that feature a fruit or spice element. Think roast pork with apple sauce, or pork hock with pineapple salsa and a parsnip puree.

Asian cuisines like Vietnamese and Thai also pair really well with Pinot Gris, as the spice notes of the wine are complimented by the bright, bold, spicy flavours of the dishes. Try our Pa Road Pinot Gris for your next Thai BYO! 

The gentle acidity and marked fruitiness of a well balanced Pinot Gris also matches nicely with creamy pastas, poultry and seafood.

For more information on the delicious Pinot Gris wine, visit Wine Folly and New Zealand Wine.

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