It translates as gray Pinot and they call it Grigio in Italy, Gris in France. In other parts of the world the name often depends on the winemaker's heritage or the style of a region. Pinot Grigio is typically picked a little earlier, resulting in a leaner style, though there are exceptions. We blind tasted three of each with Northwest Pinot Gris the winner. Here are the panel's top picks:
2014 Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio, $30
Made with grapes from hillside vineyards in the region of Friuli, this is Italian Pinot Grigio at its best. Opens with heady aromas of savory melon, orange blossom, papaya, tangy lime zest, mineral and ginger. The flavors are equally rich, offering tangerine, apricot and quince with hints of almond and stone. Tangy citrus adds balance to the silky, creamy finish.
2015 Rock Point Pinot Gris, $15
This Oregon entry hails not from Willamette, but from the Rogue River Valley. There is an intriguing bit of dusty slate to the green apple and tropical fruit aromas. The palate is filled with layers of rich honeyed peach, pear and apple, all beautifully balanced by crisp citrus. A touch of lemon zest comes through on the finish. A great buy on a delicious wine.
2015 Ross Andrew Pinot Gris, $20
Another Northwest winner, this one using cold climate fruit from a vineyard 1,370 feet above the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. The result is a crisp and refreshing white with baked apple and pink grapefruit aromas. The flavors are a mix of ripe apple, papaya and lime, with racy acidity on the lively finish.