Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris)

  • Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) grape varietal
    Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) grape varietal
    Photo Credit: slgckgc/Flickr

Burgundy, France, is the region well known for the origins of the various pinot grape varietals and so the German word “burgunder” is used to mean pinot in the sense French and English speakers use it. From there, the German language follows a similar naming scheme for the different pinot grape varietals. “Grau,” like “gris” in French or “grigio” in Italian, is the German word for the color grey. So grauburgunder (/grouh-bur-gūn-dur/) is the German name for pinot gris/grigio. In the Pfalz region, it goes by the slight variant “grauer burgunder” while in Baden it also goes by the completely different name “ruländer.” Grauburgunder is a red skinned grape originating from the spätburgunder (/shpāt-bur-gūn-dur/) (pinot noir) grape. Unlike spätburgunder though, grauburgunder grapes are used to make white wine. Grauburgunder can be found in different regions of Germany including the Mosel, but its more famous regions include the Pfalz and Baden where the German weather tends to be slightly warmer.

Grauburgunder vines grow well in deep strong soils and its grapes ripen around the end of September. Grauburgunder wine tends to be colored intensely golden yellow and be full-bodied with mild to medium acidity. On the nose and palate, grauburgunder wine typically presents fine spices, butter, light fruit such as quince and peach, and nutty tones like almond and walnut. As it matures, grauburgunder wine can develope honey, biscuit, hay, melon, and vanilla tones. The Herrenletten Grauer Burgunder from Weingut Weegmüller is a top quality varietal grauburgunder and Weingut Nauerth-Gnägy also has premier grauburgunder.