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Known as Grauburgunder, it is translated from the German as the “gray grape of Burgundy.” Local producers in the Baden region will also use the familiar French term Pinot Gris for export or selling to their Alsatian neighbours across the Rhine river in France when they come shopping. The grape takes its name from the Cistercian monks who fanned across Europe from Burgundy in the Middle Ages to spread Christianity, taking with them vines to plant for making wine for consumption and religious practices. They wore hooded, grey garb. In fact, in Hungary, the name for the Pinot Gris grape is Szürkebarat, literally translated, Grey Monk. It is really at home in the Baden region of southern Germany where the wines are mainly produced in the dry (trocken) style. The vineyards are strategically positioned between the hills of the Black Forest to the east and Rhine River to the west on volcanic soils. Soft on the palate, it is gently perfumed with a tad more colour and substance than most whites. WG Königschaffhausen Winery’s Pinot Gris shows up regularly on LCBO shelves and its back again! To preserve freshness and maintain the grape’s characteristics, Pinot Gris rarely sees any wood treatment and is fermented and aged in stainless steel prior to bottling. While it tends to be drunk young, a bit of bottle aging will allow complexity to develop. Pale gold, with copper tinges, on the nose we get light pear notes with a pleasant earthiness. The body is mid weight and extends to a long finish. Very versatile, Pinot Gris drinks well on its own, but it is the ultimate food wine. We love to match it with mushrooms, especially in risotto. It’s also a perfect pairing with salmon.

2020 Pinot Gris Trocken, Königschaffhausen Vulkanfelsen, #597500, $17.95.

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