Pinot Gris Wine

Pinot Gris Wine

Pinot Gris is a white-wine grape originally from the vineyards of Burgundy. Pinot Gris Wine is now found in wine regions all over the world. Pinot Gris, or Grauburgunder is a white wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. Thought to be a mutant clone of the Pinot noir variety, it normally has a grayish-blue fruit, accounting for its name but the grapes can have a brownish pink to black and even white appearance. The word pinot 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, and it is one of the more popular grapes for skin-contact wine.

Pinot grape varieties Like Pinot blanc (right), Pinot Gris (center) is a color mutation of Pinot noir (left).


Pinot Gris grapes are naturally low in acidity. Although sometimes used as a blending component, Pinot Gris is usually produced as a varietal wine. Flavors and aromas vary greatly from region to region and from style to style. But common features include notes of pears, apples, stone fruit, tropical fruit, sweet spices and even a hint of smoke or wet wool. Most winemakers avoid obvious oak character in their Pinot Gris, but some use older more neutral barrels for fermentation. For weightier, more complex styles of Pinot Gris, partial malolactic fermentation are commonly used. Sweet late-harvest wines are also common and high in sugars. Therefore, the finest Pinot Gris wines come from the world’s cooler viticultural regions. Those from warmer climates tend to lack acidity and structure and can seem too alcoholic. Europe’s showcase examples come from vineyards on either side of the Rhine river, from Baden and Pfalz in Germany and, particularly, the Alsace region in France. In these regions, the wines are made in varying levels of sweetness, from bone dry to lusciously sweet. A Pinot Gris Selection de Grains Nobles from Alsace is one of the sweetest, most intensely flavored wines on earth.

Pinot gris is grown around the globe with the “spicy” full-bodied Alsatian and lighter-bodied, more acidic Italian styles being most widely recognized. The Alsatian style, is often duplicated in regions such as Marlborough, Tasmania, South Australia, Washington, and Oregon, tend to have moderate to low acidity, higher alcohol levels and an almost “oily” texture that contributes to the full-bodied nature of the wine. The flavors can range from ripe tropical fruit notes of melon and mango to some botrytis-influenced flavors. In Italy, Pinot grigio grapes are often harvested early to retain the refreshing acidity and minimize some overt-fruitiness of the variety, creating a more neutral flavor profile. This style is often imitated in other Old World wine regions, such as Germany.

Pinot gris grape


Pinot Gris has been known since the Middle Ages in the Burgundy region, where it was probably called Fromenteau. It spread from Burgundy, along with Pinot noir, arriving in Switzerland by 1300. The grape was reportedly a favorite of Emperor Charles IV, who had cuttings imported to Hungary by Cistercian monks and these brothers planted the vines in 1375. In 1711, a German merchant, named Johann Seger Ruland (re)discovered a grape growing wild in the fields of the Palatinate. The subsequent wine he produced became known as Ruländer and the vine was later discovered to be Pinot Gris.

Until the 18th and 19th century, the grape was a popular planting in Burgundy and Champagne but poor yields and unreliable crops caused the grape to fall out of favor in those areas. The same fate nearly occurred in Germany, but vine breeders in the early 20th century were able to develop clonal varieties that would produce a more consistent and reliable crop.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, 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 Gris, a fine selection


A member of the extended Pinot family of grape varieties, Pinot Gris is a pink-skinned mutation of Pinot Noir. The two varieties are indistinguishable in the vineyard right up until fruit becomes softer near harvest. Then Pinot Gris berries take on their distinctive array of colors; anything from orange-pink to pale, dusty purple. The adjective gris is French for “gray” and refers to the dusty, light-gray sheen the grapes often take on.


A major grape is Alsace, grown on 13.9% of the region’s vineyard surface in 2006, the varietal Pinot Gris d’Alsace (France) is markedly different from Pinot Gris found elsewhere. The cool climate of Alsace and warm volcanic soils are particularly well suited for Pinot Gris, with its dry autumns allowing plenty of time for the grapes to hang on the vines, often resulting in wines of very powerful flavors.

Pinot Gris is one of the so-called noble grapes of Alsace. Previously, the Pinot Gris wines produced in Alsace were originally labeled Tokay d’Alsace. In the Middle Ages, the grape was popularized in the region by Hungarian traders who were introduced to the grape from Burgundy. During this time, Tokaji was one of the most popular and sought after wines on the market and the name was probably used to gain more prestige for the Alsatian wine. Pinot Gris was believed to have been brought back to Alsace in the 16th century. It was planted in Kientzheim under the name “Tokay”. Tokay Pinot Gris was adopted as an intermediate step, with the “Tokay” part to be eliminated in 2007. Many producers had implemented the change to plain Pinot Gris on their labels by the early 2000s.


Pinot Grigio is a popular planting in northeastern Italy in regions such as Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

In Italy, where the grape is known as Pinot grigio, plantings can be found in the Lombardy region around Oltrepo Pavese and in Alto Adige, Italy’s northernmost wine region. The grape is also prominent in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region.


Pinot Gris was first introduced into Australia in 1832 in the collection of grapes brought by James Busby.] In Victoria, wines from the grape are labeled both Pinot Gris and Pinot grigio, depending on the sweetness of wine with the drier wines being labeled Pinot grigio.

New Zealand

Pinot Gris is grown in both the North, Waiheke Island (Hawkes Bay, Gisborne), and South Islands with 1,501 Ha producing as of 2009. This is over a 100% increase since 2006. In 2007, Pinot Gris overtook Riesling as the third most planted white variety after Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay. Half of all plantings are in Canterbury and Marlborough, with the wine developing a “rich, flinty, fruit-laden character”.

United States

Eyrie Vineyards planted the first American Pinot gris vines in Oregon in 1965. Hoping to increase sales, this vineyard started to graft Riesling vines to Pinot Gris in 1979. The grape originally had difficulties finding a sustainable market until they started aggressively marketing the wine. The wine’s popularity only increased slightly until the mid-1990s when well-capitalized larger producers entered the picture with enough volume to warrant expensive marketing. In 1991, King Estate Winery was founded with a mission to produce enough high-quality Oregon Pinot Gris to develop a sustainable national market for the wine. They are credited with bringing the Pinot Gris grape varietal into the national consciousness in the US Today they are the world’s leading producer of premium Pinot Gris and farm the world’s largest contiguous organic vineyard which contains over 300 acres of Pinot Gris grapes.

There are about 1,620 acres planted in the Central and South coastal areas of California. The Pinot Gris from California is often called Pinot grigio because of its similarity in style to the wine of Italy.

Wines made from the Pinot Gris vary greatly and are dependent on the region and winemaking style they are from. Alsatian Pinot Gris is medium to full-bodied wines with a rich, somewhat floral bouquet. They tend to be spicy in comparison with other Pinot Gris. While most Pinot Gris are meant to be consumed early, Alsatian Pinot Gris can age well. German Pinot Gris is more full-bodied with a balance of acidity and slight sweetness. In Oregon, the wines are medium-bodied with a yellow to copper-pink color and aromas of pear, apple, and/or melon. In California, the Pinot Gris are more light-bodied with a crisp, refreshing taste with some pepper and arugula notes. The Pinot grigio style of Italy is a light-bodied, often lean wine that is light in color with sometimes spritzy flavors that can be crisp and acidic.

Pinot Gris is considered an “early to market wine” that can be bottled and out on the market within 4–12 weeks after fermentation.

Pinot Gris and Food Pairing

Pinot Gris is a fantastic white wine. Pinot Gris is always dependent and versatile. This is an acidic wine that will cut through the fat of neutral meats, and won’t clash with most sauces, dressings, condiments or side dishes.

Pinot Gris Food Pairing

  • Calamari
  • Cauliflower Soup
  • Crudité
  • Ethiopian Cuisine
  • Fried Chicken
  • Garlic Bread
  • Ham
  • Hummus
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Mushroom Risotto
  • Pasta Primavera
  • Creole Chicken/Seafood Jambalaya
  • Prosciutto
  • Salad
  • Seafood in cream sauce, Seafood with Pasta
  • Fish, Smoked Salmon, Sushi and many fish dishes
  • Vegetarian Cuisine

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Barbaresco Red Wine


Barbaresco Red Wine

Wow, another great wine from the Piedmont region in northwestern Italy is Barbaresco Red Wine. Historically it was called Nebbiolo di Barbaresco. Nebbiolo is the grape from which it is made. Nebbiolo is the grape variety behind the top-quality red wines of Piedmont, northwestern Italy, the most notable of which are Barbaresco and Barolo. Nebbiolo wines are distinguished by their strong tannins, high acidity and distinctive scent – often described as “tar and roses”.

Barbaresco Red Wine - Produttori del Barbaresco Paje Produttori del Barbaresco Paje

You’ve probably heard that Barbaresco is one of Italy’s top wines. Yet, for many years, it’s also been one of its most underappreciated fine wines from this area.

Barbaresco Red Wine - 1987 Produttori Del Barbaresco1987 Produttori Del Barbaresco

But now Barbaresco is stepping up, thanks, in part, to a new generation of innovative winemakers who are embracing more natural farming methods, leading to even higher quality grape production and subsequently better wine. The region’s unique microclimate encourages freshness and balance in its Nebbiolo grapes, even in the hottest vintages. The recent fascination with Nebbiolo and Piedmont has further shined a light on the denomination, as today’s wine lovers discover that Barbaresco is a world-class wine.

A ‘WOW’ History of Barbaresco

Barbaresco is produced in the Piedmont region in an area of the immediately to the east of Alba and specifically in the comunes of Barbaresco, Treiso and Neive plus that area of the frazione San Rocco Seno d’Elvio which was once part of the comune of Barbaresco. It was granted Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) status in 1966 and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita status in 1980. The wine is often compared with Barolo—another Nebbiolo based wine from the Piedmont area. Though the wines do share many similarities, there are some distinct differences between them.

Although it was already well-known for the quality of its Nebbiolo grapes, the widely accepted birth date of Barbaresco is 1894, when Cantina Sociale di Barbaresco was founded, as before that date Nebbiolo grapes from the Barbaresco area were mostly sold to Barolo producers. Domizio Cavazza, was named to be the founding director of Alba’s Royal Enological School in 1881, and soon started to develop Barbaresco, which led to his purchase of a farm and a vineyard in 1886. He cultivated its vineyard with Nebbiolo and with a group of nine growers founded the Cantina Sociale, outfitted with barrels and winemaking equipment in order to produce what is considered the first wines to be officially called Barbaresco. After a good start Barbaresco fell on hard times with World War I and the premature death of Cavazza in 1915.

It was not until the late 1950s that Barbaresco would come back again thanks to a new generation of dynamic winemakers. Don Fiorino Marengo, founded Produttori del Barbaresco cooperative cellar, the successor to Cavazza’s original vision to make outstanding wine.

By the late 1960s, the Gaja and Bruno Giacosa wineries began to market Barbaresco internationally with some success. The Produttori cooperative became one of the most respected cellars in Italy and inspired more landholders in Barbaresco to return to their vineyards and to make quality wine.

Barbaresco Red Wine - Fine Barbaresco Wine

Wine regions

The soils of the Barbaresco zone are composed primarily of calcareous marl dating from the Tortonian epoch. The area is typically divided into three regions based on the principal towns of the area including Barbaresco, Neive and Treiso. The soil and climate of the three areas are very uniform to each other which creates more across the board consistency than what would be found among the 11 communities in the Barolo zone.


Barbaresco Red Wine - Vineyards of Barbaresco

The vineyards around the town of Barbaresco make up for 45% of Barbaresco production with many of the area’s largest wineries located in here. Wines from this area tend to be relatively light in color and body but very well-structured and aromatic.


Barbaresco Red Wine - Neive Vineyards

In Neive, the Nebbiolo grape is fourth in plantings behind the cultivation of Barbera, Dolcetto and Moscato but this region is known for making some of the most powerful and tannic expressions of Barbaresco. The area is also home to the highly esteemed Nebbiolo vineyards of Santo Stefano and Bricco di Neive whose names are starting to appear on some single-vineyard bottling. Located east of Barbaresco, Neive is responsible for 31% of Barbaresco’s production and makes some of the most full-bodied and tannic examples of the wine.


Barbaresco Red Wine - Treiso Vineyards

A vineyard in Treiso

Located south of Barbaresco, with vineyards on the highest hilltop sites in the area, Treiso wines tend to be the lightest in body and are principally known for their finesse. A smaller area, Treiso accounts for 20% of the Barbaresco zone’s production.

Vineyard classifications

Beginning in the late 19th century, there have been attempts to classify the area’s vineyards into Burgundian-like crus based on which areas produced the best wines. Today many follow the lists compiled by the vineyards based on which grapes are more highly-priced based on performance. These lists typically include the Asili, Martinenga, Montefico, Montestefano and Rabajà vineyards in Barbaresco, the Albesani, Santo Stefano, Bricco di Neive and Gallina vineyards in Neive, and the Pajorè vineyard in Treiso.


Barbaresco Red Wine - Barbaresco lighter, and brick in color

Barbaresco becomes lighter, more brick in color.

DOCG regulations stipulate that Barbaresco wines must be aged for a minimum of 2 years and at least 9 months in oak prior to release and aged for at least 4 years to be considered a riserva. The wines must have a minimum 12.5% alcohol level though most wines are closer to 13.5%. Well-made examples of Barbaresco wines are expected to be aged at least 5 to 10 years after vintage before they are consumed, as they are extremely tannic and tight in their youth, and some continue to drink well even after 20 years. The typical style of a Barbaresco has bouquets of roses or violets with flavor notes of cherry, truffles, fennel and licorice. As the wine ages, it can develop smoky notes and more earthy and animal flavors like leather and tar.

Differences from Barolo

Despite being made from the same grape and produced in neighboring areas less than 10 miles from each other, the wines of Barbaresco and Barolo do have some distinct differences. The Barbaresco zone receives a slight maritime influence which allows Nebbiolo to ripen here a little earlier than it does in the Barolo zone. This allows the grape to get to fermentation earlier with a shorter maceration time. The early tannins in a young Barbaresco are not quite as harsh as Barolo and under DOCG rules it is allowed to age for a year less than Barolo. The Barolo wines that tend to be closer in body, fruitiness, and perfume to Barbaresco wines are generally the ones produced near the villages of La Morra and Barolo. The most pronounced difference between the two wines is that the tannins of Barbaresco tend to soften quicker, which can make the wines more approachable to drink at an earlier age but won’t allow it to age for as long as a traditionally made Barolo could. The smaller vineyard areas mean that the annual production of Barbaresco is around 35% the production of Barolo and therefore the wines are not as widely available out on the market. However, the smaller area does generally produce more consistent profiles among the Barbaresco than across the more expansive Barolo zone.

Barbaresco Wine and Food Pairing

Barbaresco is a powerful red wine that combines best with dishes that have a strong flavor. Subtle dishes will be overpowered by this wine and are better to combine with less strong wines.

Traditional Piedmontese dishes:

Piedmontese cuisine is full of specialties with tasty meat and powerful sauces, often combined with white truffle that combine well with Barbaresco such as: Risotto al tartufo bianco, Manzo stufato alla Piemontese, Agnolotti al tartufo, Fricandó alla Piemontese, Fonduta con tartufi, Cardata alla Torinese, Taglierini con fonduta e olio di tartufo as well as many other traditional Piedmontese dishes.

Traditional Italian dishes from other regions:

Melanzane di Parmigiano, Peposo, Ossobuco and Trippa all fiorentina, and many other Italian dishes.


Beef, game, and stews such as beefsteak, lamb, veal, rabbit, wild boar, and deer.


Barbaresco is too strong in taste to be served with fish, better serve fish with a light red or a fine white wine


Especially wild poultry like guinea fowl in truffle sauce and pheasant but also duck breast and foie gras.


Pasta with a strong tomato or truffle sauce.


Old strong cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino vecchio, old Gouda and old Cheddar, blue cheeses such as Gorgonzola and Castelmagno as well as cheeses with a rich flavor like Fontina, Taleggio, and Boschetto al tartufo.

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So WOW! Please try some of these fine selections of Barbaresco wines. Also, please go to winetospiritscrown for a complete selection of all fine wines and spirits.

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Barbaresco Red Wine - Castello di Neive Barbaresco Santo Stefano 2016 Castello di Neive Barbaresco Santo Stefano 2016

Barbaresco Red Wine - Barbaresco Red Wine - Castello di Neive Barbaresco Santo Stefano 2016Castello di Neive Barbaresco Santo Stefano 2016 Castello di Neive Barbaresco Santo Stefano 2016

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Barbaresco Red Wine - Luigi Giordano Barbaresco MontestefanoLuigi Giordano Barbaresco Montestefano 2015

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Barbaresco Red Wine - Albino Rocca Barbaresco 2015 Albino Rocca Barbaresco 2015

Barbaresco Red Wine - Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco2015 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco

Barbaresco Red Wine