When tasting bottles of pinot grigio coming out of Italy, it is often the case that you will notice flavours highly reminiscent of crisp pear and apple, citrus, and even a noticeable trace of mineral-like quality within what is a very light-bodied style of wine with high amounts of zingy acidity.
For more on the taste of Italian pinot grigio, and those wines made to this style in other parts of the world, be sure to visit this page, which provides further insights into the origins and flavour profile of these wines.
Pinot Gris & Pinot Grigio in Australia
As mentioned previously, it is often hard to determine exactly which style of wine you can expect when considering a bottle of Australian pinot gris or pinot grigio as winemakers are not bound to follow typical guidelines when labelling their products.
Perhaps one of the best methods of determining whether it is in the French or Italian style is to consider the colour of the wine in the bottle or glass, as pinot gris wines tend to be far more golden and deeper in their colour whilst the lighter style pinot grigio wines are often known for their very pale appearance.
In any case, the grape varietal made its way to Australia thanks to the pioneering work of James Busby, who is also responsible for bringing many other notable grape varietals to the country in the early 19th century.
It struggled for years, however, and was consistently overlooked in favour of other more popular warm climate varietals but eventually saw growth when, in the late 20th century, winemakers in the cool climate region of the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria started to experiment with producing the French pinot gris style wines.
It is in the cool climate areas of Australia, notably the Mornington Peninsula, where the French style pinot gris wines are often produced, and the King Valley, where the Italian method of producing fresh pinot grigio style wines is followed, that the varietal has really found its footing.
That being said, as winemakers from the Mornington Peninsula region are really responsible for jumpstarting the growth of pinot gris and pinot grigio wines locally, it is important to start with this region when considering the grape varietal as it exists in Australia.
Mornington Peninsula Pinot Gris & Pinot Grigio
The Mornington Peninsula, located just south of the major city of the state of Victoria, Melbourne, is a well known cool climate region that produces some of the best examples of Australian pinot gris and to a lesser extent, pinot grigio.