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What Colour is Pinot Grigio

What Colour is Pinot Grigio

Born in a luscious area nestled in the beautiful northeast of Italy, Pinot Grigio is the Lombardy region’s glistening, pale straw-coloured gift to the world. But, is it a disingenuous, sweeping statement to call one of the most popular white wines worldwide, pale straw colour?

Served across the board in trendy bars, upmarket restaurants, wholesalers to businesses and supermarkets direct to consumer; Pinot Grigio has attained staggering levels of popularity owing to its light and zesty notes and effortless pairing with anything from seafood to salad and chicken to soft, mild cheeses. With a flavour that isn’t too overwhelming, Pinot Grigio is a perfect accompaniment to a lunch date with friends, celebrating a promotion or just to unwind after a stressful week.

So, with such widespread popularity and the fact that you have probably seen more glasses of this particular white wine on tables and in hands than any other variety this week, it seems highly irregular that most people don’t seem to have a grasp on the ins and outs of the variety, its history and even most visible of all, its colour.

Starting at the top, the wines name gives the first insight into its potential colouring. Pinot Grigio can be directly translated into English as grey pinecone. Yes, we are prepared to admit that some of the romance is definitely lost in translation here, but they are the salient facts.

The Pinot Grigio grape has had an interesting history, involving travelling great distances and even mutating and a passing knowledge of this history is essential to fully understand this captivating grape and its resultant, alcoholic juice.


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The History of the Grape

Originating from the French Pinot Gris grape primarily cultivated in the Alsace region of France, from which the refreshing and sweet French Pinot Gris wine is derived, Pinot Grigio was conceptualised when the Pinot Gris grape migrated to north-eastern Italy. Pinot Gris was itself, perhaps surprisingly, a mutation of the world-famous and renowned Pinot Noir grape – a red wine grape variety of the same family as Pinot Blanc.

However, when the Pinot Gris grape made its way to northern Italy it underwent two important changes. First, it was exposed to vastly different growing conditions than it had been used to in France and secondly it mutated and became the grape we all know and love today as Pinot Grigio.

The Pinot Gris grape was used for longer sun exposure and was picked as a much riper grape that contributes to its tropical and fruity notes. Pinot Grigio grapes are picked at a much earlier stage in their development and have greyish-blue hues to their skin; a stark contrast to other white wine varieties that predominantly have light green skin. Read more on the differences between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio here.

Interestingly, a riper grape provides a more golden and sweeter wine - and when Pinot Grigio grapes are left to mature more fully, they take on a pink coloured skin. Wines made from grapes at this stage are called Pink Pinot Grigio which is – undeniably – pink. Regardless of whether it is set to make a white Pinot Grigio or a pink wine all Pinot Grigio is never stored in oak barrels like a lot of wines as this would contribute to a richer, smokier flavour that would corrupt the fresh, zingy taste that made this variety of wine so favoured. Instead, Pinot Grigio taste varieties are fermented, stored and aged in steel tanks that give the wine a fresher and cleaner taste and also won’t alter the colour.


How to Describe the Colour of Pinot Grigio Wine

We have now established that Pinot Grigio grapes, when picked at the optimal time, are greyish-blue. This is artfully summed up in the name’s direct translation, grey pinecone.

So, if the first half of that sacred name is indicative of the grapes’ colour, then is the second an indication of the colour of the wine? After all, this light, fresh white wine is a pale, pine-wood colour. Perhaps even the shade of a light pinecone? Well, sadly no, it is in fact a subtle nod to the clustering formation of the grapes when in a bunch – sorry to disappoint.

How about wine colour? White wine coloured? Light brown? Beige? Green? To clear this matter up once and for all, we really need access to a good quality, well researched wine colour chart. There are several out there that arrange thirty-six different shades of wine in a loosely structured manner from pale to deep shades of twelve different colours that span the spectrum from light white wines to deep red wines. And would you believe it, the very first colour on there is straw-coloured.

Perhaps not the disingenuous, sweeping statement we previously took it for. The range of colours we are interested in for this debate is, therefore, from straw to pale brown covering yellow and gold. We can probably immediately rule out pale brown and the deeper end of the golds for being too dark. Leaving us the entire straw and yellow ranges to deliberate.

From our observations, Pinot Grigio, being such a light-bodied white wine, can range from borderline clear to a very pale yellow, almost green hue. With that in mind, it seems most probable that the best colour range would be the pale straw, medium straw or deep straw. With the vast majority of white Pinot Grigio coming towards the paler end of the spectrum, hovering around the pale straw-coloured end predominantly.


To Sum Up

So, with all that said and done, we think it is probably fair and justified to call the Pinot Grigio wine pale straw coloured. It seems to quantify the unquantifiable in as much as a translucent liquid colour can be quantified and it does a reasonable job at it too. It’s a pleasant, friendly description that evokes fresh, summery, happy feelings.

However, we most definitely cannot agree to the Pinot Grigio grape being pale straw in colour – it is abundantly clear it’s grey or very possibly blue. It is very important to define your question. However, to make your own, informed decision head over to the Shop All tab and pick up a bottle or two of our ThinK Pink, a Pinot Grigio Sparkling Rosé – but we’ll let you in on a secret, this one is most definitely Pink!

And, if you are a fan of the freshness of a white Pinot Grigio then maybe sample our organic vegan Prosecco as part of a ThinK mixed case of six. It has similar applications to a classic Pinot Grigio in terms of food pairing, offering a great compliment to fish dishes, tofu and vegetables. It even has similar fresh and elegant notes when enjoyed – 100% worth a try.

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