Pinot Gris (Grauburgunder)
(8% of total cultivation area)
Resulting from a mutation of its relative the Pinot Noir, this grape variety was already cultivated in Burgundy, France in the 14th century. Legend has it that it was introduced to Germany by a German trader from Speyer in 1711 under the name of Ruland. Hence it`s synonym “ Ruländer”.
The Ruländer or Pinot Gris belongs to one of the most popular varieties in Germany and is on a steady increase.
With an estimated worldwide production area of 15,000 hectares the Pinot Gris covers a slightly smaller areal (3,100 hectares) than the Pinot Blanc and is of more importance here in Germany than in other countries such as France. Italy, Rumania and Hungary also have a higher percentage of cultivation.
Characteristics and requirements:
The Pinot Gris usually reaches maturity shortly before the Pinot Blanc. The medium sized, reddish brown clusters are very compact in growth. The larger they grow, the more the grapes become exposed to pressure, which cause them to burst. The result is botrytis which can positively develop into Noble rot (Botrytis cinerea). The Pinot Gris loves the same conditions as a Pinot Blanc, easily warmed, nutrient enriched soil with a sufficient supply of water. The most recent Pinot Gris clones are higher in yield, hardier and less susceptible to disease. Growth is upright and healthy clusters reach an average of 10° Oechsle more in must weights, higher than the Riesling.
The wine itself:
Given a high degree of ripeness, this variety will produce full bodied wines, rich in extracts, alcohol and spice, accompanied by almond and honey fragrances and pleasantly mild acidity on the palate. Earlier harvested grapes have finer fruitiness with slightly higher zesty acidity. Primary flavours include pear, pineapple and Brioche. Higher residual sugar levels enhance, with additional notes of honey and caramel.