“Before I was married, I learned the difference between cheap and expensive wine. After I was married I learned to drink the cheap wine” – Paul Smith.

Go on folks, hHow long is it since you tried a Pinot Grigio? It was one of those wines – like Blue Nun, Liebfraumilch, blush Zinfandel, and Le Piat D’or – that we started our journey on as pimply-faced early twentysomethings trying to act like sophisticated early fortysomethings. Then it became a grape we knew was safe and cheap but didn’t really like to buy for ourselves any more because we had moved onto Chardonnay, so we gave it as gifts to neighbours who didn’t annoy us for the next ten years or so before letting it drift into memory.

It’s time to give it another go, though, because the drink of our youth is hip again, as well as being very nice indeed now that the sun seems to be coming out to play.

Pinot Grigio is also known as Pinot Gris in Alsace and parts of the New World, particularly New Zealand, and it’s been used to make wine since the Middle Ages. It’s an interesting grape because the style of the wine it produces can range from light-bodied with youthful bouncy fruit to bone-dry with high acidity and a palate as refreshing as a cold shower. If you’re a fan of pudding wines, by the way (and we will visit them in detail later in the year) Pinot Gris produces some corking late-harvest sweeties with all the fruit of its normal cousins, as well as a delicious oily palate. The best of these types in recent years has come from New Zealand.

The bulk of Pinot Grigio on the shelves is Italian with most of the production coming from the far north-east of the country, although Sicily is knocking out some crackers at the moment. So, now that we’re all grown up, we can revisit Pinot in an adult fashion and pair it with the real food rather than a takeaway curry (if you’ve never tried a chilled one with a vindaloo, tick it off your bucket list, especially if you need your sinuses cleared, because the acidity really goes for the curry.) It’s not necessarily edifying but it is a good laugh.

Like I said, we’re all adult now so you need to break out the shellfish, especially grilled langoustines with which Pinot Grigio shines. It’s also particularly good paired with Dover sole and lemon, or, for a real summer treat, a fresh crab salad.

Anyway, I’m about to uncork my twenties again so pip pip for another week.


  • Voga Pinot Grigio, Sicily: Crisp, refreshing and light with plenty of ripe tropical fruits and a very clever bottle style. Richardson’s of Whitehaven, £11.99.
  • Weather Station Pinot Grigio, South Africa: Light and fresh with hints of apples and pears. A really good aperitif. M&S, £7.50.