Pinot Grigio is the Italian name for Pinot Gris wine and grapes that originated in the Burgundy region of France. It was made into wine in this area and probably went by the name of Fromenteau. By the 14th century, this grape was being planted in Switzerland and was brought to Hungary by the Cisterian monks.
However, the vines often yielded a poor crop which made them unreliable, causing this grape to be pushed to the backburner with winemakers. In the early 20th centuries a variety of the vine was developed that was able to withstand different soil and weather conditions bringing this wine back onto the wine scene.
Pinot Gris / Grigio grapes grow best in cooler climates. They ripen early and have a high level of sugar. Depending on the fermentation process, the wine can be very sweet or very dry. The dry wines of this nature have a very high level of alcohol. As the grapes ripen on the vine, there can be different colors of grapes in the same cluster, ranging from bluish-gray to pinkish-brown. The clusters resemble the shape of pine cones, which is where the "pinot" comes from in the name. "Pinot" is the French word for pine cone.
The taste and aroma of Pinot Grigio / Gris depends on the region in which the wine is made. Those wines that come from the Alsace region of France tend to be spicier than other varieties. This wine is full bodied and has a floral aroma. In contrast to the Pinot Gris wines from other parts of the world, which are meant to be consumed young, the wines from Alsace age well.
Pinot Gris [http://www.wineaccess.com/wine/grape/Pinot%20Grigio/Gris] wine from German wineries is full bodied like those of Alsace, but the taste tends to have a greater balance of acidity and sweetness, much like a Sauvignon Blanc. In the United States, wineries in both Oregon and California produce wines from these grapes.
The Oregon wine tends to be medium-bodied and the colors range from yellow to pink with aromas of pears, apples and melons. The California version of Pinot Gris tastes crisp and has a light body. You will detect hints of pepper and arugula, even though this is a plant native to Mediterranean countries.
Pinot Grigio from Italian wineries is often light-bodied and lean like a Chenin Blanc. The wine is very light colored as well, with crisp and acidic flavors. This wine can be very sweet but care has to be taken to harvest the grapes at just the right time before they start to lose their acidic quality.
Fermentation of Pinot Gris / Grigio grapes is not a long process. Many wineries like to have these grapes in their vineyards because it is a wine they can bring to market very early in the season. Within 4 to 12 weeks after harvest, this wine can be bottled and sold for consumption.
It is recommended that this wine be consumed within two years after it is bottled for the best taste and aroma. It can be paired with many food dishes, especially seafood, and pasta dishes. It is a recommended wine to serve with cheese and crackers. Because this wine is fairly high in acidity, you should avoid serving it with foods that are acidic, such as citrus fruits and dishes containing tomatoes.