What was long thought to be a mutation of Pinot Noir is actually a cross of Pinot Meunier and Traminer. Pinot Gris is a versatile grape that has many forms throughout France, Italy, Germany and Switzerland. A productive varietal with a rainbow of skin hues, Pinot Gris is known for a wide range of styles that swing from crisp and dry to fruity and spicy to rich and sweet. Pinot Gris is known for a combination of stone fruits, cream and a pervasive spiciness that can be wonderful if yields are kept in check.
The best examples of Pinot Gris come from the Alsace region in northern france. Often it is known here as Tokay though there is no relation to the great wine of Hungary by a similar name. Alsatian Pinot Gris tends towards soft and spicy with lots of fruit and sometimes residual sugar. In Italy as Pinot Grigio it is fresh and crisp. Known as Malvoisie in the Loire and Switzerland, and Pinot Beurot in Burgundy where in the past it grew next to Pinot Noir and was used to add acidity and fruitiness. Also prevalent in Germany and Austria as Grauburgunder, as well as in Hungary, Slovenia and the former Soviet Union.