Bentley’s Grill Wine Steward Mark Jacklich is continuing his studies with the Court of Master Sommeliers through 2012. In addition, he plans to spend a lot of time working with Jim Bernau’s team at Willamette Valley Vineyards and learn more about the process from grapes to wine full circle. Mark is eager to share his knowledge with you in an educational series we call: Wine Notes with Mark. Enjoy!
When ordering a glass of wine, some can be confused by the similar names that varietals can have. While similar in name, I can assure you that there can be some distinguishable traits between these wines.
Let’s begin with Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio. They are both the identical in the fact that they are made from the same grape, Pinot Gris being French and Pinot Grigio being Italian. However, they can be completely different in the range of styles that can be made.
The Italian style Pinot Grigio wines are typically lighter-bodied, crisp, fresh, with vibrant stone fruit and floral aromas and a touch of spice. In contrast, French Pinot Gris wines are more full-bodied, richer, spicier, and more viscous in texture. Today, both styles are made in wine regions around the world. My picks for Oregon Pinot Gris are King Estate and Firesteed.
The Syrah wine grape, called Shiraz in Australia, is native to the Rhone Valley, in southeastern France and still thrives today. Syrah and Shiraz wines are created from exactly the same grape variety but, as is true of any wine, the taste is very much dependent on the various land and winemaking types it’s produced under.
Even in the Rhone Valley itself, there is an enormous difference separating the way Syrah is utilized in the northern and southern wine-producing regions. In Australia where it has regained its position as the most planted red grape, it is responsible for large scale production of everyday, smooth, spicy, blackberry flavored reds. It is also blended very successfully with cabernet sauvignon at all quality levels and is made into a delicious, full bodied, ripe, spicy red wine.
If you have more questions or want to learn more, ask for me next time you come to Bentley’s Grill and I would be happy to help you find the perfect wine to accompany your dish. Till then, Cheers! -Mark