Sometimes spritzy, always easy, Pinot Grigio is certainly a favorite white wine for spring. With its warm days and cool nights, Temecula is an ideal spot to grow Pinot Grigio, which requires plenty of sunshine to develop the vibrant apple and melon flavors for which it is known. And everyone enjoys drinking it, especially when paired with a chunk of aged Gouda cheese, Marcona almonds and dried apricots, a grilled salmon salad with a healthy squeeze of lemon, or a nice bowl of penne tossed with spring vegetables and butter.
Below are five fun facts on this Old World varietal, plus some suggestions on where to pick up an affordable bottle at one of your local Temecucla Valley wineries.
- Pinot Gris (French) and Pinot Grigio (Italian) refer same grape – just different countries and different styles.
- Very closely related to the Pinot Noir grape, the grape normally has a grayish-blue skin, accounting for its name – gris meaning “grey” in French; pinot comes from the French word “pine cone,” which could have been given to it because the grapes grow in pine cone-shaped clusters.
- The first American Pinot Gris vines were planted in Oregon in 1966 by David Lett from Eyrie Vineyards.
- Pinot Gris grows well 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.
- Pinot gris is considered an “early to market wine” – which means it can be bottled and out on the market within 4–12 weeks after fermentation. This white can be opened and consumed young.
Temecula Valley wine country Pinot Grigios to try:
- Robert Renzoni Vineyards, 2011 Pinot Grigio “Julia’s Vineyard;” $20
- Callaway Vineyard & Winery, 2011 Special Selection Pinot Gris; $18
- Cougar Winery, 2011 Pinot Grigio; $16.95
- Ponte Winery, 2010 Pinot Grigio; $23.95