The Liquor Cabinet

The Best Pinot Gris Bottles Under $20

Ged Bellis, Wine Program Director at Sydney’s beloved Nomad restaurant, provides a sommelier’s guide through four of the best and best-value pinot gris you can try.

Best Pinot Gris under $20

A chilled glass of pinot gris is the perfect way to “wine down”, especially in the warmer weather. The increasingly popular French wine is often described as elegant and refined, commonly imbued with notes of tropical and stone fruits as well as citrus, and a balanced palate of sweet, spicy, and dry.

Many wine drinkers wonder what the difference between pinot gris and pinot grigio is. They are, in fact, made from the same grape variety, though the final wines can be quite different. Grigio is the Italian name for the grape, and the style is typically quite light, crisp, dry, and very citrus driven in its fruit profile. Gris is the French name, and these wines tend to be richer, more full-bodied and riper in style, sometimes with a touch of sweetness.

The greyish-blue grapes are possibly a mutation of pinot noir and Australian pinot gris viticulture is said to have started as part of the 1832 James Busby collection. Some of Australia’s best pinot gris wines come from Mornington Peninsula, Adelaide Hills, Yarra Valley, and Tasmania, although it is grown in other wine regions too.

Affectionately dubbed “pinot G”, the food-friendly white wine is an excellent accompaniment to fish and seafood or roast chicken.

Here, sommelier Ged Bellis — Wine Program Director at Sydney’s beloved Nomad restaurant (where he runs a monthly wine school) — taste tests his way through four of the best and best-value bottles of pinot gris bottles on shelves.

Kim Crawford Pinot Gris 2020

This wine has a very attractive ripeness on the nose with a prominent yellow apple and peach character. There are some hints of ginger spice and a slight mealiness as well. The fruit follows through on the palate, and there is some genuine concentration here as opposed to a reliance on sweetness for the flavour — an impressive offering from a well-regarded winery. My pick of the bunch! [Note: this is $22 on the site]

Land of Giants Pinot Gris 2020

There is a darker hue in the glass for this Kiwi drop and a very aromatic and opulent nose. The fruit spectrum is bordering on tropical with aromas of tinned pineapple and melon. The palate is equally bold with bags of flavour and texture. This is a full-throttled style for those who want a rich and spicy example of pinot gris with some sweet elements.

Squealing Pig Pinot Gris 2020

The nose here is very delicate and fresh with a light floral hint. Crunchy green pear and grapefruit on the palate with a slight bitter edge on the finish, which is not untypical of the variety. This would be perfect as an aperitif with some fresh oysters.

Jacob's Creek 1847 Pinot Gris 2020

A South Australian offering from one of the region’s stalwart producers. The nose here is very bright and youthful, with lots of green apple and candied lime. There is definitely a confectionery element and a bit of sweetness on the palate which will make it appealing for those who like a full-on fruity style, but probably wouldn’t pass the taste test for drinkers of bone dry and crisp styles.

This summer, whether you have dinner party plans on the horizon, or are just looking for a refreshing white wine, an affordable bottle of pinot gris could be just the ticket.

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