Three guises of pinot gris

Pinot gris is a highly adaptable grape.
Pinot gris is a highly adaptable grape. Photo: iStock

Somewhat maligned by the cognoscenti, including sections of the media, pinot gris/grigio has confounded the critics and become a major player in the Australian wine market. It's a highly adaptable grape, used for sparkling wine and sweet wine as well as several styles of still dry white. Gris and grigio both mean 'grey': the Italian grigio style is usually lower alcohol, earlier harvested and more delicate while the French gris style is richer, riper and more spicy. As well, pinot gris is a variety that's become fashionable for producing 'amber' or 'orange' wines, where the juice and skins have been fermented together, just as in red wine making.

Devil's Corner Pinot Grigio 2019, Tasmania, $22 

Score: 93

The fruit purity of this light-bodied grigio is excellent. It has restrained but clean floral aromas, and there's a faint touch of sweetness helping make it a smart commercial style. A wine of harmony and superior drinkability. Trophy, best pinot gris/grigio, 2020 Tasmanian Wine Show. 12.5 per cent alcohol; screw-cap.

Ageing? Best enjoyed young.

Stockists include: The Bottle-O Lonsdale Cellar, Melbourne (Vic); Merrett's Liquor Supply, Rose Bay (NSW).

Bangor Jimmy's Hill Reserve Pinot Gris 2018, Tasmania, $45

Bangor make a Jimmy's Hill regular and a reserve: there's only 50 dozen of this one. The mid-yellow colour and rich, nutty, character-filled bouquet point to barrel fermentation and some maturation. The palate is likewise deep and full, rich and flavoursome, finishing properly dry. Substantial oak has been used, to good effect. 14.2 per cent alcohol; Screw-cap.

Score: 95

Ageing: Drink now to six years. 

Stockists include: bangorshed.com.au/collections/all 

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Foxey's Hangout Late Harvest Pinot Gris 2018, Mornington Peninsula, $28 (375ml)

Score: 92

True to pinot gris form, this sweet wine has an oily richness, a viscosity that parallels its richness and sweetness. The colour is medium-light straw/rose-gold, the bouquet displaying spices, pot-pourri and stone-fruits. A fully sweet wine with vibrant acidity adding freshness, the finish long and satisfying. 11.5 per cent alcohol; screw-cap.

Ageing: Drink now to six years.

Stockists include: Small Patch Wine Store, Hawthorn (Vic); foxeys-hangout.com.au