The white grape variety Pinot Gris has only historical significance for Champagne today. Champagne is now made only from the Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grape varieties. However, since this vine has historically played a significant role in the development of Vin Gris and early Champagnes, a brief discussion of this equally excellent grape variety is in order.
ImageEven at the beginning of the 16th century, there were primarily two blue grape varieties (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) and one white grape variety (Pinot Gris or Fromenteau) in Champagne. Time and again, the alternative name of Pinot Gris, Fromenteau, appears in historical documents. Later, the Pinot Gris was displaced by the noble Chardonnay grape. To a limited extent, however, the cultivation of the Pinot Gris vine is said to have still existed sporadically in the Champagne region until the beginning of the 20th century.
As the name suggests, Pinot Gris is a grape variety from the famous Pinot family. The grapes appear grey to pink in their ripeness. In Germany, the grape variety is called Rüländer and Grauer Burgunder. Even today, it is sometimes called Tokay d'Alsace in Alsace, although 'Tokay' or 'Tokajer' is actually the name for a famous wine from Hungary, which is based on the Furmint grape variety, which is not related to Pinot Gris.
The Pinot Gris vine produces richly flavoured, fiery, spicy wines. This vine is probably a mutation of the Blue Burgundy or Pinot Noir from Champagne and Burgundy. The mutability is also confirmed by the phenomenon that red, white and blue grapes can be found on the same vine at the same time.