Decanter’s experts from around the world nominated the best Pinot Gris or best Pinot Grigio in their respective regions. Then we asked Andrew Jefford to taste them all and select his favourite 35 wines.
Pinot Noir, one of the most genetically influential grape varieties, mutates easily. The pink-berried Pinot Gris is one such mutation, first recorded in the early 18th century. It’s a true international.
We mainly know it under its name in Alsace, Pinot Gris, or as the Italian Pinot Grigio, but it’s Pinot Beurot in Burgundy (where it’s a minor rival to Chardonnay), Ruländer or Grauer Burgunder in Germany and Austria, and Szürkebarát in Hungary.
Italy, not France, has the largest plantings (6,600ha and rising, compared to the French total of 2,617ha*); California, too, has almost twice as much as France (5,223ha), followed closely by Germany (4,481ha). Even Australia’s total exceeds that of France (2,836ha). Hungary (1,522ha), New Zealand (1,501ha) and Oregon (1,107ha) are all major sources.
Jefford’s favourite 35 Pinot Gris wines:
*These figures, taken from Wine Grapes by Robinson, Harding and Vouillamoz, are based on pre-2010 data, so totals are now likely to be higher for all areas