The difference between pinot gris and pinot grigio

Although made with the same grapes, pinot gris is generally riper and richer than the lighter, simpler pinot grigio.
Although made with the same grapes, pinot gris is generally riper and richer than the lighter, simpler pinot grigio. Photo: Shutterstock

 There are few lines more blurred than that between pinot gris and pinot grigio.

The short explanation of their difference is that gris is based on the French Alsace style, riper and richer, with more alcohol and sometimes a little sweetness; grigio is based on the Italian model, lighter and simpler with less alcohol.

Good PG can be delicious. Cooler climates produce the finest examples. Pipers Brook Vineyard founder Andrew Pirie makes Apogee in a cold site in Tasmania's Pipers River region, and Word Of Mouth vineyard sits at a cool 1000 metres on the slopes of Orange's Mount Canobolas.

Autumn in the vineyards at Apogee in Lebrina, Tasmania.
Autumn in the vineyards at Apogee in Lebrina, Tasmania. Photo: Supplied

Word Of Mouth Pinot Gris 2018, Orange Region $25 (by the half-dozen or dozen)

Score 95

This vineyard was Orange's gris pioneer. It's a bright, light yellow-green colour with a fresh fragrance of pear and red apple. The mouth is soft and rounded, gentle and delicate with lovely texture and flavour, finishing in harmony. There's a faint nutty overtone from a barrel-fermented fraction. Screw-cap; 14 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Best now to five years.

Stockists Cellar door and online at wordofmouthwines.com.au

Apogee Alto Pinot Gris 2018, Tasmania $45

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Score 95

With a restrained pale-yellow hue, this is fresh and pear-like, with some nettley herb notes. The delicate but intense palate has a winning combination of subtlety and strength, its mouth-watering acidity balancing a rumour of sweetness. The style is midway between gris and grigio. Screw-cap; 12.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to seven years.

Stockists Wine Culture, Roseville (NSW); apogeetasmania.com

Tomich Woodside Vineyard Pinot Grigio 2018, Adelaide Hills $25

This is a very smart wine and a fine example of grigio style. It has a pale colour and its talcy, cashew-like aroma has a seabreezy overtone. It's delicate and intense in the mouth, light and bright with crispness and length. Screw-cap; 12.5 per cent alcohol.

Score 93

Ageing? Best within five years.

Stockists include Vine Providore, Redfern (NSW); Melbourne Wine Store (Vic).