Grape Profile: Sauvignon Gris

Instead of an easter hunt this weekend, my clippers and I hunted for grapes. I seriously hope I’m getting faster at this! 

Today was extra cool, though, because of a particular variety I’ve been anticipating harvesting: 

Sauvignon Gris {Sah-veen-yon Gree}

Sauvignon Gris, or Sauvignon Rosé, is a pink-skinned version of the much better-known Sauvignon Blanc. One of Cody’s wine books says that Sauvignon Gris “is much less aromatic than Sauvignon Blanc, but makes elegant, rather interesting wines*.”

The thing is, I had never even heard of this variety, let alone tasted it (…let alone eaten and picked its grapes) until I saw it as part of the Clearview repertoire. 

I did a little digging in a couple ways: first, online; and secondly, through all the foliage cluttering the grapes. 

1. Online digging: the language of wine has a lot of savageness. I already knew about Cabernet Sauvignon (savage cabernet) and Sauvignon Blanc (savage white); Sauvignon Gris is savage grey. 
Just like how Pinot Gris is a mutation of Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Gris is to Sauvignon Blanc. 

It’s said to be less aromatic than Sauvignon Blanc, but when I tasted the Clearview Sauvignon Gris alongside their Sauvignon Blancs, I thought the Gris to be more similar to a Semillon – interesting aromatics without SB’s green peppery notes. Still less savage, but super interesting nonetheless.

2. Leaf digging: this is where I got to know the grape a little more than I hoped. The canopy grew pretty fully around the clusters, making it fairly tricky to get at the grapes. When we did, though, the medium- to small-sized clusters fell really easily. It was a battle of wits between me and the leafy canopy. I won. 

After bathing in the juice of Sauv Gris, we checked out a couple rows of its Pinot counterpart. 

Pinot Gris – which I knew wasn’t grey per say, but I pictured more like the Sauv Gris’ pinkish-grey coloring – looked a lot closer to a black grape:

AKA a purple hue that would impress Barney the Dinosaur. 

These were totally my favorite grapes to pick so far. After Gewurztraminer that loved wedging itself into the vines, Chardonnay that camouflaged itself perfectly into the leaves, and Sauvignon Blanc that went on for miles (kilometers?), a darker grape was fantastic. The clusters were super easy to see, perfectly shaped, and totally clean (no rot or mildew or tons of under- or overripe grapes), which meant my mental morning was as relaxing as if I was laying at the beach reading. 

Which I waited to do for real until after work. This beach is on my way home – I think it’s called the Clifton Road Reserve. That seagull was like “hey! Let me get into position one sec and you can have a picture-perfect shot of me, that cute lab, and our horsie friends. Okay go!” Thanks, seagull!

*Clarke, Oz & Margaret Rand. Grapes and Wines. Time Warner/Wesaubster: London, 2003. Pg 228. 

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