When the band Animals sang, "Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood." they may have well been talking about the grape variety Pinot Gris.
It's a grape that goes by many aliases (Pinot Grigio, Grauburgunder, Gris Cordelier, Rulandské Šedé to awkwardly name but a few), and takes on just as many shades and forms.
If you were to walk into your typical supermarket bottle shop, it's likely you'll see a fridge full of Pinot Gris/Grigio that looks as pale as water. What's strange is that in its natural state, the Pinot Gris grape sits in some strange no-man's-land between a red and a white grape - hence 'Gris', French for 'Grey'. Pinot Gris can be black, grey, blue, pink, brown, white and virtually any shade in between.
At one extreme, it can make shockingly ruddy-coloured wines with flavours and aromas closer to a Pinot Noir. At another, it can take on the sort of voluptuous palate weight and textural hedonism that you might usually associate with something more like Chardonnay. Increasingly often in Australia, it hovers in a strange Purgatory between a rose and an orange wine. It can be and should be, a fascinating grape to make wine with.
"Pinot Gris can be a much-maligned grape variety as it rises up the popularity charts and can get more boring with every step, but this shows what the grape is capable of in renegade hands."
- Curly Haslam-Coates (The Wine Front) on the 2020 Stoney Rise No Clothes Pinot Gris
It's a variety that flourishes with a little bit of creative winemaking. Make it like a red wine and soak it on its skins and it transforms into a red-ish, tannin-filled wine that shows red fruits, red flowers, richness and body.
It loves barrel fermentation and time on lees where it can take on creaminess and richness. It loves sweetness: see the decadently voluptuous examples out of regions like Alsace and pockets of New Zealand to see it at its sweet, seductive best.
Locally, we've seen a boom of these more interesting Pinot Gris wines in recent years. So much so that we sold more than twice as much Pinot Gris as Sauvignon Blanc in 2020.
If you haven't had Pinot Gris treated to skin-contact, you haven't had Pinot Gris. Shop our range of interesting Pinot Gris below.