Pinot Gris/Grigio (PEE-noh gree/GREE-jee-oh) While Pinot Grigio is in fact the same grape as Pinot Gris (just the Italian take on it), the differences of wine they create can be immense. Pinot Gris' most popular and successful region is Alsace, France, an area of the country that actually puts the name of the grape on the label. Pinot Grigio is the Italian version of the grape, known for its light, crisp acidity. But wines from other regions usually term their wine Pinot Gris or Grigio based on the wine's flavor profile.
Notable Facts Pinot Gris from Alsace creates rich, stone fruit-laden wines. They are perfumed and aromatic, and typically dry. It has round body and medium acidity. Take the grape a bit south to Italy, and it creates a very crisp, high-acid, citrus noted wine. Both are flavorful, but wine named Pinot Gris typically provides more body and rounder fruits while Pinot Grigio gives lighter-bodied, citrus fruits. Oregon and California are also growing the grape, Oregon having success with a more Alsacian style and California producing both. Winemakers often call the wine by the style they wish to replicate - for Italian style, look for Pinot Grigio, for the Alsacian style, look for Pinot Gris. In Alsace, Pinot Gris can also makes wine with some residual sugar. It's capable of creating delicious dessert wines in the region.
Summing it up Successful Sites: Alsace, Italy, Oregon, California
Common Descriptors: peach, pear, floral, citrus
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Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Umbria
Home of the fashion capital of Milan, Lombardy is not quite Italy's capital of wine. It is, however, home to a few wines worth noting. Most vineyards are far north, far south or far east. First, in the south, the sparkling wine Franciacorta – this sparkling wine is made in the methode champagnoise and the better wineries produce wine that can hold it's own in a quality bubbly line up. Lugana, a pleasant, white wine made from Trebbiano, comes from Lombardy as well. Lean reds from the Nebbiolo grape are made further up in the Valtelliana region, near the Alps.
The region of Emilia-Romagna is better known for its food rather than wine. Most of the wine coming from this region is the red, slightly-fizzy Lambrusco. It's high in acid and best drunk young. The white coming out of the region is mostly Albana di Romagna. Made from the albana grape, it's typically dry and pleasant, although not found often.
Talk about being in the center of things… the land-locked region of Umbria is smack dab in the middle of the country. The most familiar white wine of the region is Orvieto, named for the medieval Etruscan town. It's a Trebbiano-based wine with good fruit flavors and high acid. Originally a sweet wine, most Orvietos are now dry. Red wine from Umbria includes Torgiano and Montefalco - Torgiano made from the grapes of Chianti, while Montefalco uses the native sagrantino grape, making big and bold reds.