|Pinot gris is a genetic mutation of pinot noir, making it something like a fraternal twin to the ruby-hued darling of Oregon winemaking. So it’s well suited to the growing conditions of the Willamette Valley.
But instead of Burgundy (French pinot noir country), the epicenter of pinot gris in France is Alsace, the cool
northeastern region where volcanic soils and dry, sunny autumns create powerfully spicy, viscous, sometimes
slightly sweet gris.
The cool and mountainous wine regions of northern Italy produce boatloads of crisp, dry, lemony pinot grigio, perfect for washing down delicate seafood dishes and
herbaceous pesto. (As you’ve surely deduced by now, ”grigio” and ”gris” mean the same thing: gray. This refers to the grayish tint of the ripe grape skins.)
For us, locally grown gris should conjure the aromas and flavors of those sun-kissed fruits that reach their peak in late summer and early autumn. Instead of descriptors like
”nuts,” ”smoke” and ”candy,” we find ourselves referring to pears, peaches, white flowers and a cornucopia of
melons and citrus. The wines we prefer strike a balance between the lightness of an Italian pinot grigio and the richness of an Alsatian pinot gris.