According to celebrated legend, around 1565, vines were brought from the town of Tokay, Hungary by the Baron Lazare of Schwendi, who served the Austrian house during its conflict against the Turks. A landowner in Bade and Alsace, he ordered that these vines be planted in Kientzheim (where his castle remains today as property of the Brotherhood of Saint Etienne). It is true that at this time, the wine producing regions of Europe dreamed of producing Hungarian Tokay, a much-appreciated fortified wine produced from the grape varietal Furmint. However, according to the theses of several experts in ampelography (vine identification), it is likely that the varietal brought by Lazare of Schwendi was not related to the famous wine of Hungary. Pinot Gris, originally from Burgundy and notable for its qualities and ability to produce very concentrated wines, had been substituted under the name Grauer Tokayer. In addition to these scientific and taste factors, it is the tantalizing story of its various designations that was to capture the attention of the wine world. Referred to as Grauer Tokayer before 1970, Pinot Gris was successively named Tokay Gris, then Tokay d’Alsace, followed by Tokay Pinot Gris, and finally, as of April 1, 2007, Pinot Gris.
Pinot Gris has a lovely yellow-gold or even amber colour.
Generally less intense, yet with great aromatic complexity, Pinot Gris often develops distinctive smoky notes: aromas of forest floor, burnt vine shoots, mushrooms, moss, dried fruits, apricot, honey, beeswax, and gingerbread. Given its inherent discretion, Pinot Gris benefits from decanting a few moments before being served, in order for its complexity to be fully appreciated.
This is a noble wine that offers great substance, an admirable, lively roundness that tends toward a slightly sweet opulence, but always underpinned by delightful freshness. It is the balanced intensity that makes it so attractive.
Pinot Gris is a wine whose strong personality pairs with richly flavoured dishes, and is the Alsace white wine that most successfully accompanies dishes most often intended for red wines.
Game, veal, pork and poultry, particularly when served with rich sauces, roasts, kidneys, mushrooms, risotto, polenta, etc. make this an ideal autumn pairing wine. In Alsace, it is the perfect match to the regional pork and potato speciality Baeckeoffe.Because of its balance between richness and crisp freshness, it is delicious with both sweet and sour flavour combinations. Foie gras, served in a variety of ways, delights in its presence. Its many qualities also make Pinot Gris a delicious aperitif wine.
Pinot Gris can be distinguished from Pinot Noir only by the colour of its berries.
Medium, Orbicular, dark green, thick and bubbled. Medium serrated edges.
Small, cylindrical and compact.
Small, spherical or slightly oval-shaped, ranging from grayish pink to grayish blue. Delicate skin, whilst the pulp lacks in fleshiness and softness.
Pinot Gris is a low-yielding, vigorous grape variety. It is well-adapted to deep, chalky soils that are relatively dry and well-exposed. It shows good resistance to winter frosts. Because of its extremely delicate skin, it is susceptible to grey rot.