Last week we found out that the French word for pine cone is “Pinot”. This refers to the pine cone-like shape of the grape clusters for this classic Burgundian vine. “Noir” is black in French so the translation is “black pine cone”. What about Pinot Gris, or Pinot Blanc? They are old mutations of Pinot Noir with the resulting fruit having a completely different color at ripeness. Genetically they are very close to each other and in the case of Pinot Gris and Noir, the leaf and structure of the vine are identical. The “Gris” is grey while “Blanc” is white. Gris and Grigio are one in the same with the berries taking on an orange to copper color at harvest. The grapes are crushed and the juice removed from skin contact has very little color, usually making a pale, straw wine. The resulting wine is fresh and loaded with apple and citrus flavors and aromas. If the juice and skin are left in contact with each other (maceration) the resulting wine will have a slightly orange or pink tint, a style that is gaining followers. The Pinot Blanc is more green and yellow at harvest and it usually gets no skin contact making a pale yellow quaff. The Pinot Blanc based wines differ from those of Gris, being refreshing yet a little softer around the edge. You’ll find excellent examples of Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc/Bianco from France, Italy, Oregon, Washington, California, Germany, Austria and other areas.There are many other white, red and pink Pinots that are a result of spontaneous mutation from Pinot Noir. Not many have a wide distribution among growers and regions of the world. We carry a wide range of them as they are great companions to various foods. They’re pretty good on their own too.