At The Fresh Market, we’re fans of the Pinot family of grapes.
Pinot Grigio has a remarkably similar DNA profile to Pinot Noir. The color difference in the grapes is due to a genetic mutation that occurred centuries ago. The leaves and the vines of both grapes are so similar that the grape coloration is the only aspect that differentiates the two. In essence, you may prefer one Pinot to another, but they all come from identical vine stock. So pull up a seat, grab a glass and let’s talk Pinot!
Pinot Grigio . . . the perfect summer sipper!
DID YOU KNOW? Pinot Grigio is a white wine but made from a red grape. The Pinot Grigio grape is named for its blue-gray hue but the juice is pressed out of the grapes and the skins are discarded to preserve its clear, lightly golden color. Are Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris the same wine? In fact, they are the exact same grape variety but create two distinctly different style of wine.
Pinot Grigio tends to be a bit lighter in style with crisp citrus flavors and a fresh finish. Pinot Gris is fuller bodied with richer stone fruit and floral notes.
TERROIR Pinot Grigio originated in France from the Burgundy region but it is most widely planted in the northeast corner of the country in Alsace. It requires a cool climate and long growing season in order to maintain its slightly low acidity and fruit forward style. While its home lies in France, the Italians are primarily responsible for bringing global recognition and fame to the variety. Pinot Grigio is the most popular white wine in Italy and the most popular imported white wine to the United States due to its easy drinking, crisp and delicate characteristics. The richer Pinot Gris style of the wine is often made in Oregon and parts of New Zealand.
TASTE The primary fruit flavors in Pinot Grigio are lime, lemon, pear, white nectarine and green apple. The token of this grape are the combination of refreshing citrus flavors combined with zesty acidity that offer a striking twinkle in the middle of the tongue. Italian Pinot Grigio is delicate and dry while French Pinot Gris is often a bit fleshier with more complexity and faint notes of honey and spice. American styles often express more exaggerated fruit flavors with slightly lower acidity.
FOOD PAIRINGS Pinot Grigio pairs well with seafood dishes, summer salads and chicken prepared several ways – fried, roasted or grilled. It is also a terrific partner for vegetarian cuisine or semi-soft to firm cow’s and sheep’s milk cheeses such as Gruyere, Muenster or Padano. Try not to go too spicy with seasonings and keep the meal on the lighter side to truly appreciate the qualities of this food friendly grape.
Pinot Noir . . . an easy drinking red for warm evenings!
DID YOU KNOW? Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grapes in the world – over 1,000 years older than Cabernet Sauvignon. It dates back to the 1st century when monks cultivated the grape in the Burgundy region of France. Pinot Noir grapes are very dark in color, almost black and its bunches of grapes resemble pine cones. The name Pinot Noir comes from the French words for “pine” and “black”.
TERROIR Burgundy is home to the best (and most expensive) Pinot Noir in the world. Limestone, clay and flint soils with warm summers and cool winters are the perfect environment for this grape to express its best colors and flavors. Pinot was first introduced and planted in California in the 1940s. Warmer climates allow the grape to flourish in this area and develop more intense, ripe flavors. Pinot Noir first made its way to Oregon in 1965. It was widely believed that the climate was much too cold to be suitable for wine production. Quite the opposite is true and Oregon’s Willamette Valley is now well-known as a combination of the best of both worlds – higher acidity and longevity of Burgundy with the bright fruit flavors of California. New Zealand is also recognized for their extraordinary Pinot Noir with unique regional features.
TASTE Hallmarks flavors of this thin skinned grape are cranberry, raspberry and cherry with touches of earth and mushroom. Notes of vanilla, smoke, tobacco or clove are also common. Supple tannins and refreshing acidity on the delicious finish. California Pinot Noir tends to be more intense with lusher, more fruit-forward flavors. Oregon is a bit lighter in color and style typically with mild tartness and more prominent earthy notes.
FOOD PAIRINGS Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile red wines for food pairing. Light and easy for pizza, roast chicken or salmon but also enough weight and complexity to hold up next to richer meats such as beef or duck. A red with mass appeal that will typically please the entire dinner table. Consider putting a slight chill on the bottle prior to serving during the warm summer months.