The Great Pinot Grigio Con
and how to beat it!
Pinot Grigio is one of the UK’s most loved grape varietals. It’s meteoric rise to fame seemed to start when Terry Wogan talked about the lovely Pinot he drank last night. The trouble is he seemed to do this almost every day. The great Pinot Grigio con has been prevalent in more recent times and wasn’t so obvious in those days though.
Terry is a well known radio and TV presenter in the UK and has a large fan base who believed everything he said so naturally they went out in their droves and bought this white wine.
Pinot Grigio is also a very easy grape to actually say. It’s got a musical lilt when you say it and is not tough to get your pronunciation around – unlike Montepulciano which is said in many different ways.
Buy why is Pinot Grigio a big con?
The main reason is that many wines sold under the guise of Pinot Grigio are not actually what they claim to be.
Consider the wine label – these days many wines have the varietal written on the label. This was a feature used by growers in the new world and has helped many people to gain an appreciation of the wine styles they like.
The problem with this is that many people don’t actually know their grape varietals. Ever hear of Cataratto Lucido, Inzolia, Garganega?
In a wine label the first named grape varietal has to be the dominant one. This is where the con starts.
Labels that start with Cataratto Lucido and have Pinot Grigio either below or next to it are actually blends of the two grapes. The problem is that it’s always far more of the first and less of the second.
Growers and merchants play on the lack of knowledge in the general public and this allows them to use these lesser known varietals and pass them off as Pinot Grigio.
This leads to mass confusion as to what proper Pinot Grigio actually tastes like. When it is blended with Garganega – which is the main varietal used in Soave it takes on a thin and bland characteristic.
But if you have a Cataratto Lucido Pinot Grigio Blend the wine tastes completely different. Cataratto gives a lemony character to the wine.
True Pinot Grigio is slightly nutty in character but is generally neutral in flavour but has a decent amount of refreshing acidity. This is because often in Italy it is harvested earlier to stop the overt fruitiness of this varietal from expressing itself.
This grape is also know as Pinot Gris which causes further confusion.
So beware the next time you see a bargain Pinot Grigio on the shelves and check if it has another word added above or before it.
Remember this is not the name of the family, area or region it’s actually another grape!
To try a selection of great true Pinot Grigio try the selection at www.wineman.co.uk
I’m not saying these blends are bad wines – although often they are. I just want you to be more educated when choosing wines and not to fall for the marketing and smoke and mirrors used in the supermarkets.