If light-bodied, easy-drinking pinot grigio leaves you wanting for something more in a white wine, consider pinot gris. Pinot grigio, the Italian name for the grape, and pinot gris, which is French, are actually the same variety, which is a mutation of pinot noir. However, the name a producer chooses often indicates a certain style and different characteristics. For example, if a bottle is labeled pinot gris, the white will most likely (but not always) be a bigger, richer and more complex wine than a pinot grigio. In addition, pinot gris wines can sometimes have a touch of sweetness. The following are examples of very good pinot gris from New Zealand and Oregon. Both would go well with fish, poultry, spicy Asian cuisine and vegetarian curries.
Oyster Bay 2021 Pinot Gris, Hawkes Bay, New ZealandBought • Schnucks, 8867 Ladue Road, in August for $11.99
Description • Oyster Bay is an extremely successful brand that comes from Delegat, one of New Zealand’s largest family-owned wine producers. The 2021 vintage, which won scores in the 90s from several critics, has an inviting aroma that combines apples, pears, herbs and citrus notes. This is a medium-bodied, lively white that’s dry but not bone dry and tastes of stone fruit, lemon and lime with hints of bakery spice.
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Chemistry 2020 Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, OregonBought • Schnucks, 8867 Ladue Road, in August for $12.99
Description • The Chemistry brand, which was launched in 2018, is a collaborative project of two highly regarded Oregon wineries, Stoller Family Estate and Chehalem Winery. This wine is also medium-bodied but just a tad bigger and slightly more complex and assertive than the Oyster Bay. Very aromatic, the Chemistry pinot gris is a lush, spicy white that tastes of juicy stone and exotic fruit, along with refreshing citrus.