There are certain grapes that I rarely gravitate toward. It’s not that I staunchly oppose them; it’s just that there are so many other grapes out there, and I maybe haven’t had the best experiences in the past with all of them.
Despite the fact that Pinot Gris, a.k.a. Pinot Grigio in Italy, produces some iconic, long-lived wines, it will never be my first pick from a shelf or wine list. That’s why tastings are such great assets: They force me to taste wines I wouldn’t normally reach for, such as the Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve 2014, which was a pleasant surprise.
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio mirror Syrah and Shiraz in that, while technically each pair refers to the same grape variety, each name typically refers to a very different style of wine. A Pinot Grigio wine will generally be dry and straightforward, with moderate acidity and body along with clean, simple citrus and apple flavors. It’s usually inexpensive, easy-drinking, and uncomplicated, save for a few excellent versions hiding in the hills of Friuli and the high altitudes of Alto Adige.
Pinot Gris, on the other hand, is typically fuller-bodied and more intense when it hails from the signature Alsace region, sometimes with perceptible sugar on the palate. The flavors are often more richly fruited, with exotic spice accents, taking its character just as much from its region as its variety. Versions from the U.S. and Germany often fall somewhere in between the two styles.
This sub-$20 bottling from one of Alsace’s longest-lived producers is approachable yet plentiful in flavor, with soft aromas of apple blossom, fleshy peach, and Meyer lemon, with a slightly rocky undertone. It’s dry but has just a touch of residual sugar, making the fruit flavors burst onto the palate. There is more of an apple pie-like spice present on the palate, but while the flavors and body are full, the wine remains clean and easy-drinking.