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Wine House Hunter Valley

Suzanne Little
April 14, 2023 | Suzanne Little

Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, same same or different?

Firstly, let’s clear one thing up: Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are made from the same grape variety.

So why the different names? The French call it Pinot Gris (gris is French for grey) and the Italians call it Pinot Grigio (you guessed it, Italian for grey). In Australia there was a push to simply call it Pinot G but not surprisingly, it didn’t really catch on (G having all sorts of connotations which we don’t need to explore here). But Pinot G is a less confusing term when talking about the variety itself so we’ll use it here, for educational purposes only.

Pinot G is a mutation of the red grape variety Pinot Noir and is quite a dark skinned grape. When fully ripe the bunches could even be mistaken for a red grape and the resulting juice has a greyish colour, hence the name. Pinot G originated in France's Burgundy region then travelled abroad to many countries, most notably Italy where they really put their stamp on it. Not only did they change the name and the style of the wine but they embraced it as their main white grape variety. To give you some idea of Italy’s dominance with this grape, Italy has 24,500 hectares under vine compared with France’s 2,800 hectares (Australia has 3,700 hectares). *

However, the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio isn’t just how you say grey, they are stylistically quite different and can be traced to their traditional regions. Although originating in Burgundy, it is the Alsace region of France that is famous for their finely tuned and delicately aromatic Pinot Gris wines. Outside of France, you will generally see other cooler regions such as New Zealand, Tasmania and southern Victoria make theirs in a Gris style as a nod to the Alsace wines. Generally speaking, Pinot Gris wines are richer, fuller-bodied wines and can have noticeable sweetness. The wines are aromatic, fruity with a hint of spice and can have a slightly pinkish hue. They are usually in a tall, thin ‘hock’ bottle, this bottle is traditionally used for other aromatic whites such as Riesling and Gewurztraminer. 

On the other hand, Pinot Grigio is a lighter-bodied wine with a crisp, refreshing taste. It is made in a dry style, with little to no residual sugar. Pinot Grigio is typically less aromatic than Pinot Gris and can be minerally, flinty and have a much lighter texture. They are usually packaged in a clear or green ‘claret’ bottle and they are great with seafood or anything oily that calls for a wine with crisp acidity to cut through the richness.

When it comes to Australian Pinot G there are no hard and fast rules as to what is labelled Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio, and with every different region and every different year there can be variations in the style. So just use the label as a general guide; if you prefer an aromatic, delicate wine with perhaps a touch of sweetness, go for a Pinot Gris but if you prefer a crunchy crisp dry white – grab a Grigio!

*Statistica 2023  


Time Posted: Apr 14, 2023 at 4:33 PM Permalink to Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, same same or different? Permalink
Suzanne Little
July 21, 2022 | Suzanne Little

2022 Hunter Valley Vintage Report

It will come as no surprise to learn that rain was a feature of the 2022 Hunter vintage. With over 180 millimetres of rain in early February it was certainly a year for vigilance in the vineyard. The mild weather and cooler conditions delayed harvest which proved to be a blessing in disguise allowing the fruit to hang until some very welcome drying winds and warm, sunny periods came along.

The longer ripening season made for some incredible flavours in the whites which came into the winery with beautiful acid profiles. Keep an eye out for some absolutely stunning Chardonnays along with alternative varieties such as Albarino, Vermentino, Fiano and Pecorino. The reds are looking medium bodied, and the cooler conditions have imparted beautiful spice driven characteristics. All in all a tricky but solid vintage with whites being the true winner.

Time Posted: Jul 21, 2022 at 2:28 PM Permalink to 2022 Hunter Valley Vintage Report Permalink
Suzanne Little
September 10, 2021 | Suzanne Little

Pretty in Pink

The French call it Rosé, the Italians Rosato, the Spanish Rosado. Which does kind of make you wonder why we here in Australia don’t simply call it Pink?

Anyway, not to worry. The fact is Rosé is huge in Australia, but the plethora of styles, varieties and shades of pink can be a little confusing. Whilst we can’t give you clear cut rules to help you choose the perfect drop, we can at least bust a few myths: 

Myth #1 - Rosé is made by mixing red and white wine together

Whilst this technique exists it is not how most rosés are made. Red wine spends a long time on skins (which is why it is red) and this increases the amount of tannin in the wine. Blending white wine with the red wine will dilute these tannins but the resulting wine will still be gripper than desired and is a less than ideal technique.

Most rosé is made by using the juice from red grapes (which starts out white) and giving it a short amount of time in contact with the red skins. The amount of time it spends in contact with the red skins is how winemakers ‘dial’ up or down the colour. Given the current trend for very pale rosés this is usually only a matter of hours. Which leads us to myth #2…

Myth #2 – The colour of Rosé is a good indication of how it will taste

Depending on the variety the rosé is made from, just a few extra hours on skins can give the wine a much deeper colour. But that extra time on skins doesn’t have a huge effect on the flavour profile of the resulting wine. Which means you can have a deeply coloured rosé which will taste just as light and fruity as a very pale rosé.

However! Rosés made from different varieties will have different colours as well as different flavour profiles. For instance, rosés made from Sangiovese, Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo can have a slight orange tinge to them and tend to be more savoury whereas rosés made from Shiraz and Grenache will be a brighter shade of pink and can have more of a confectionary lift.

Myth # 3 Rosés are low in alcohol (this can be a dangerous one)

Rosé is pink and pretty and oh so fruity and we love drinking it at lunchtime so it’s low in alcohol right? Not necessarily! Rosé is made from red grapes and most winemakers will wait until the grapes are fully ripe to get the best flavours. So unless the rosé is a sweeter style (that is, not all the sugar has been converted to alcohol) then the rosé can be anywhere from 12.0 to 14.5% alcohol so be sure to check the label!

So now that you are rosé enlightened (or thoroughly confused) perhaps it’s time to pour a glass and soothe your aching brain. Check out our Rosé page to see the fabulous collection of new release rosés made by some of our favourite winemakers. Simply chill, enjoy and clock off. After all, it’s just pink wine!   


Time Posted: Sep 10, 2021 at 3:53 PM Permalink to Pretty in Pink Permalink