Although the day does not land on the weekend (boo), this weekend ahead is perfect for going out and celebrating what is very likely the most popular mutation of Pinot Noir in the world - Pinot Gris (Grigio).
This mutation of the Pinot Noir grape gets its name from the French pin, meaning pine tree, and the suffix –eau, designating a cone from the pine tree. The varietal gets its name from its pinecone-shaped formation of grape clusters. The term “grigio” is Italian for gray, describing the grape’s grayish-blue coloring.
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are identical in the sense that they are made from the same grape. But the difference (as it often does) lies within the styles that the wines are produced. For example, Pinot Gris from the Alsace region of France is typically more rich and slightly off-dry, with pronounced, spicy tropical fruit aromas. Pinot Grigio in northern regions of Italy - where the climate is decidedly cooler - are produced much lighter, crisp, clean, and vibrant, with notes of various citrus flavors. Outside of these areas, the name vintners will use on the label is mostly a stylistic decision (as with naming a wine Syrah or Shiraz when it comes from neither France nor Australia), so they will usually select the name that best fits the audience they are selling to.
That being said, like other popular and relatively easily grown grape varieties, Pinot Gris is now available all over the world. When a producer is out outside of the areas known for some of the first planting of the vines, they are not beholden to anything other than what they want to make, so one region or country can produce multitudes of styles, and experiment as they see fit. Which can make for a very fun time, so should choose to take the leap.
And take it you should, which is one of the reasons we post so many wine holiday, we love to remind people that there is always a chance to go out and try new things, wine especially. So go forth, and enjoy the unknown :)
Oh, and don't forget to serve at 43℉, you'll thank us later.