Pinot Grigio Day 2022: 13 Facts about Pinot Gris

Reading Time: 5 minutes

While today may be Pinot Grigio Day 2022, we’re celebrating the French wines made from the same grape, by their French name Pinot Gris. Discover 13 facts about Pinot Gris as well as a recommendation from a French wine importer.

Pinot Grigio Day 2022- French wine varietal days

 

  1. Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio?
    Pinot Gris is the French name for what is also known as Pinot Grigio by their Italian neighbours. They are the same grape. It’s also known by several other names.

 

Pinot Grigio Day 2022
Pinot Gris Synonyms

 

  1. Origins
    We know that Pinot Gris originated in France. It is widely accepted that it originated in Burgundy, yet some still say it was in Alsace (confusion perhaps because of its abundance there today). Cuttings were transported to Switzerland in the 1300s and onto Northern Italy where it was named Pinot Grigio.

 

  1. A happy accident
    Pinot Gris is believed to be a mutation of Pinot Noir! A grape’s colour comes from, among other things, its number of active anthocyanins. Pinot Noir, the original grape has the largest number. On the other end of the scale is another genetic mutation, Pinot Blanc which has inactive anthocyanin. Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio are in the middle with less active anthocyanin than Pinot Noir but more than Pinot Gris.

 

  1. Pinot Gris grapes
    Gris means grey in French and is a reference to the colour of the grapes which can be grayish-blue. That said, the grapes can also have a brownish pink to black and even white appearance. It grows in small pinecone shaped clusters.

  1. Same grape, different wines
    Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same grape but their wines are quite different in style. Pinot Gris tends to be sweeter or richer than the Italian Pinot Grigios which are drier and lighter bodied. Alsace Pinot Gris is known for its strong flavours and high alcohol content. The warm soils combined with the cooler climate of Alsace allow grapes to stay on the vines longer which leads to an increase in flavour and sugar development. French Pinot Gris also tend to be oilier than Italian Pinot Grigios. Flavours found in Alsatian Pinot Gris include apple, honey, white flower, mushroom and exotic spice.

 

  1. Particular wines
    Pinot Gris is the only grape variety authorised to make a Reuilly rosé obtained through pellicular maceration. But it is also the grape variety of the Coteaux d’Ancennis appellation, where it is known as malvoisie.

  1. A dessert wine
    Pinot Gris is also used to create late-harvest dessert wines.

 

  1. Parenthood
    Pinot Gris is also a parent. In Romania, Pinot Gris was crossed with Feteasca Regala to create a grape called Astra and with Grasa de Cotnari to create Columna. In Greece, it was crossed with Teinturier to create Deckrot.In Germany, it was crossed with Silvaner Gruen to create Freisamer. In Hungary, it was crossed with Pozsonyi to create Gesztus; and with Koevidinka to create Karat. Nosztori Rizling was created by crossing Welschriesling with Pinot Gris.

 

  1. Pinot Gris in France
    It may have originated in Burgundy, but you’d be hard pressed (pun intended) to find any Pinot Grigio there now. Today, Pinot Grigio is largely found in Alsace but is also cultivated in the Loire Valley.

 

  1. The largest plantings of pinot gris are not in France
    but in Germany, where at the last census, 5042 hectares were planted there compared with 2582 hectares in France.

 

  1. Australia and New Zealand each have almost as much area cultivated by Pinot Grigio as France. Australia had 2836 hectares and New Zealand 2488 hectares.

 

  1. Pinot Gris around the world
    Apart from its homeland France, its adopted land of Italy, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, pinot gris is also cultivated in Argentina, Austria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg, Moldova, Romania, South Africa, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States.

 

  1. Pinot Grigio Day
    It’s been observed annually on 17th May since 2009. Share your pinot gris or pinot grigio on social media with the following hashtags #nationalpinotgrigioday #pinotgrigioday Feel free to also tag us @matildamarseillaise_en on Instagram or @matildamarseillaise on Facebook so we can see what you’re drinking.

PINOT GRIS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PINOT GRIGIO DAY 2022

 

Pierre Stock of Pierre Stock Wine Selections recommends 2019 Domaine des Pothiers Hors Piste.

Why do you recommend this Pinot Gris?

Most of the pinot gris are made in Alsace, this is one is made in Loire Valley in the Cote Roannaise to be exact on granitic soil.

Manual harvest and organic vinification, Hors Piste is aged in 500 litre barrels and can be cellared for 10 years.

 

How is this French Pinot Gris different to Italian Pinot Grigios?

This is a total different style than the Italian one, much textural and oily

 

What would you pair it with?

Fish or chicken with creamy sauce.

 

Can this Pinot Gris be aged?

Yes, for 10 years.

 

Happy Pinot Grigio Day 2022! Do you prefer French Pinot Gris or Italian Pinot Grigio?

 

MORE WINE?

If you like French wine, you may also like these articles:

WHITE WINE

National Moscato Day 2022: 15 facts about Muscat

International Sauvignon Blanc Day 2022: 13 Facts about Sauvignon Blanc

International Viognier Day 2022: 19 facts about Viognier

Happy Pinot Grigio Day – a look at the French wine Pinot Gris

19 facts about Riesling for International Riesling Day 2022

International Chardonnay Day 2021: the grape, the wines and which ones to drink

 

RED WINE

Cabernet Franc Day 2021: facts and recommendations

Cabernet Sauvignon Day 2021: 15 things you didn’t know about Cabernet Sauvignon

International Grenache Day 2021: Discover 11 things you didn’t know about Grenache to celebrate

World Malbec Day 2022: 19 facts about Malbec

World Marselan Day 2022: 15 facts about Marselan

Tannat Day 2022: 23 facts about Tannat

 

Subscribe

Enter your email to subscribe to new article notifications about all things French and francophone in Australia

International Sauvignon Blanc Day: all about sauvignon blanc and which ones to drink

Reading Time: 7 minutes

International Sauvignon Blanc Day happens twice a year so the wine gets two days of celebration: tomorrow 24th April but the more recognised day is the first Friday in May. By reading about it now, you get the benefit of finding out everything about sauvignon blanc today and finding out which sauvignon blancs to stock up on so you’re ready to celebrate again on Friday 7 May 2021.

International Sauvignon Blanc Day

WHAT ARE SAUVIGNON BLANC GRAPES LIKE?

Sauvignon blanc grapes are green skinned and produce white wines.  They grow best in cooler microclimates and sandier soils and are often quick to ripen.

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Sauvignon blanc likely takes its Sauvignon from Savignin from which Sauvignon Blanc is thought to have come. Savagnin in turn may be linked to the word “sauvage”, French for wild. Blanc is simply white. 

 

A SAUVIGNON BLANC BY ANY OTHER NAME… 

…is still a sauvignon blanc. 

International Sauvignon Blanc Day

 

RELATED GRAPES

Sauvignon blanc is a possible descendant of savagnin.

Sauvignon blanc was crossed with Cabernet Franc to produce Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sauvignon blanc is not however believed to be related to sauvignon blanc rosé mutation found in France’s Loire Valley.

 

WHAT ARE SAUVIGNON BLANC WINES LIKE?

The typical French sauvignon blanc wines produced in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley are dry white wines. That said, in Sauternes sauvignon blanc grapes are used to produce a sweet wine. 

 

Gravelly soils of the Loire Valley give floral, spicy and mineral flavours to the sauvignon blanc. In contrast, Bordeaux sauvignon blancs tend to be fruitier. 

 

Sauvignon blancs under the AOC Pouilly-Fumé produced in Pouilly-sur-Loire in the Sancerre commune are said to have a smoky, gun flint flavour hence Fumé, the French word for “smoky” being used.

As the soil and the climate have significant effects on the grapes produced, sauvignon blancs grown in other countries also differ remarkably. For example, New Zealand’s sauvignon blancs tend to be higher in acidity than French sauvignon blancs. 

 

SAUVIGNON BLANC IN BLENDS

One of the most common blends for Sauvignon Blanc is with Sémillon to produce Sémillon Sauvignon Blanc.

 

Sauvignon blanc is one of only four white grapes allowed in the production of white Bordeaux wine. The others are Sémillon, Muscadelle and Ugni blanc,. 

 

In the northern Rhône Valley, Sauvignon Blanc is often blended with Tressallier to form a tart white wine.

 

In the Sauternes region, sauvignon blanc grapes are blended with Sémillon to produce Sauternes, a late harvest sweet wine. 

 

WHERE IS SAUVIGNON BLANC GROWN?

 

IN FRANCE

In France, sauvignon blanc is mostly grown in Bordeaux and in the Loire Valley.  

 

NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand has become the 2nd largest grower of Sauvignon Blanc grapes. In 2013, New Zealand had 16205 hectares of sauvignon blanc vines compared to France’s 26839. New Zealand’s sauvignon blancs tend to be higher in acidity than French sauvignon blancs. 

Image: Steve Gardner

SAUVIGNON BLANC AROUND THE WORLD

Chile is next in place with 12159 hectares of sauvignon blanc vines. Chilean sauvignon blancs are less acidic than New Zealand’s and are closer to the French style.

 

South Africa, US, Australia, Romania, Spain, Italy and Ukraine round out the top 10 sauvignon blanc growing countries. 

 

WHICH WINES TO DRINK FOR INTERNATIONAL SAUVIGNON BLANC DAY

 

Popsy & JJ

www.popsyandjj.com.au

Popsy & JJ give us their comparisons and recommendation for International Sauvignon Blanc Day.

 

How are Australian and New Zealand (given they saturate the market) Sauvignon Blancs different to French Sauvignon Blancs?

Northern Hemisphere savvy is quite different from Southern Hemisphere savvy. Firstly, it tends to be less acidic and racy and contains slightly more residual sugar. It has higher viscosity and often can have the textural feel closer more like that of an Aussie chardonnay. They also tend to age for a couple of years longer than Southern Hemisphere savvy.

 

Which French Sauvignon Blanc do you recommend for Sauvignon Blanc Day and why?

The 2018 La Perriere Touraine Sauvignon Blanc is a text book example of what Loire can produce so brilliantly. It is a wonderful entre to into Loire Valley whites and won’t break the bank. You get baked peach, lychees, passionfruit, and elegant floral hints on the nose. On the palate are lychees and stone fruit, and it just seems to linger on and on and on…. The mercury like texture also blows you away and you would swear there must be some oak treatment yet there isn’t. Just meticulous care by the 4th generation owner operators, the odd stirring of lees during vinification and some Loire Valley know-how and voila – you have some serious liquid!

 

What would you serve with this Sauvignon Blanc?

This beautiful wine washed down beautifully with some BBQ calamari (click for recipe) in our tasting which was like a dream you didn’t want to wake up from! Against all logic, we tried this in both a Burgundy glass against the traditional aromatic glass and the Burgundy glass was the winner. Somehow the texture and perfume just fared better in it, so what do you know? We just keep learning on the run because we’re wine nuts! And every wine is a different beast so to speak.

 

Airoldi Fine Wines

www.airoldifinewines.com.au 

Daniel Airoldi from Airoldi Fine Wines chats to us for International Sauvignon Blanc Day.

SPECIAL OFFER: As always, receive a 20% discount on your order from Airoldi Fine Wines when you use the code “Marseillaise” at checkout.

 

How do Australian (and New Zealander) sauvignon blancs differ from French sauvignon blancs?

Oh la la, that’s a huge question to answer! Let’s say that the French sauvignon blancs are in general more about the herbaceous and lemony aromas whereas Australian and New Zealand ones have more so tropical fruits aromas. It’s difficult and dangerous to generalise! You also need to understand that in France, sauvignon blanc is often blended with other varietals such as sémillon.

 

Which French sauvignon blanc do you recommend for International Sauvignon Blanc Day?

The dry white from Prieure-Lichine 2018 is a blend of sauvignon blanc and sémillon.

A delicious wine coming from a gravelly terroir from Margaux in the Medoc.

 

What would you serve with this sauvignon blanc?

A plate of plain oysters or grilled lobster with lemon butter.

 

French Wine Centre

frenchwinecentre.com

Jono from French Wine Centre recommends 2 sauvignon blancs although only one is currently in stock.

 

We had two outstanding benchmark producers of Sauvignon Blanc. Domaine Merlin Cherrier from Bué, Sancerre and Domaine des Fines Caillottes (Jean Pabiot) in Pouilly sur Loire, Pouilly Fumé. Link below for Fines Caillottes however we are currently sold out of Merlin Cherrier!!
https://frenchwinecentre.com/collections/jean-pabiot-domaines-de-fines-caillottes

 

How do Australian and New Zealand sauvignon blancs differ to French sauvignon blancs?
They are more about aromatics rather than structure, minerality and drive. Quality Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé will age indefinitely if they are stored correctly and the cork gods are kind!

 

French Wine Centre - Pouilly FuméWhich sauvignon blanc do you recommend?
Sancerre from Domaine Merlin Cherrier and Pouilly Fumé from Domaines des Fines Caillottes, of course!!!!

 

Why?
Classic examples of the region. From premier villages within both Sancerre and pouilly Fume with great sites. Both use organic principles, low yields and produce age worthy wines of class and distinction.

 

What would you pair with them?
Simple, simple, simple, white bait, goats cheese, smoked salmon. I won’t go into detail with accompaniments, just keep it fresh.

 

Le Plonque

www.leplonque.com.au 

Margot from Le Plonque talks #savblanc for International Sauvignon Blanc Day.  

 

Why do we love sauvignon blanc?

We love its freshness, its green and herbal flavours and especially its acidity. 

 

Where in France does Sauvignon Blanc grow?

Sav Blanc grows best in a cool climate, you’ll find it in the north rather than the south. Especially in the Loire valley.

 

Which bottle should I open?

We highly recommend domaine de Clayou Sauvignon Blanc 2017. Fruity and citrusy, it is very representative of its region. It’s simple, affordable and great quality. 

 

What do I eat with a Sauvignon Blanc ?

Any seafood pairs wonderfully with Sauvignon Blanc. If you’re not a fish lover, we recommend you to try with cheese (for example goat cheese, feta or ricotta) or light meats such as pork or chicken (best when cooked with spices and herbs such as mint, rosemary and garlic). 

 

What’s your favourite Sauvignon Blanc? Do you prefer the French style or the Australian/New Zealand style? Happy International Sauvignon Blanc Day!

Subscribe

Enter your email to subscribe to new article notifications about all things French and francophone in Australia

You may also like to read our other articles about French wine varietals. Find them below:

International Riesling Day: everything you need to know about riesling and which to drink

International Syrah Day: discover the wine and some recommendations

International Cabernet Franc Day is today!

Drink Merlot today because it’s International Merlot Day!

Happy International Carignan Day

International Grenache Day 2020: how to celebrate today

It’s International Cabernet Sauvignon Day today!

Today is International Pinot Noir Day!

Carménère Day: the story of a grape thought extinct

Malbec World Day: everything you need to know and drink

International Sauvignon Blanc Day