Choose the perfect Pinot with help from wine expert, Angela Aiello.

There’s a reason Pinots are the most popular kids in class. And since summer is prime time for parties, what’s better than serving a much-loved wine that pairs with light, warm-weather fare?

The name Pinot comes from the French word for pinecone, which describes the small, clustered form of the grapes.

Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are different names for the same grapes. (They mean grey, which refers to the colour of the grape cluster.) Although grown and produced all over the world, Pinot Gris from Alsace, France, and Pinot Grigio from Friuli and Veneto, Italy, are the standards. Pinot Gris ages well and tends to be medium- to full-bodied in texture and weight, while Pinot Grigio is often lightbodied and meant to be consumed soon after it’s bottled. Both can range in colour from clear to light pink and pair well with lighter fare and warm nights.

Pinot Noir
Known as the “heartbreak grape,” Pinot Noir has thin-skinned, tight grape clusters that make growing it a challenge. The grape yields a low production and needs lots of attention and care. It’s the most popular wine in the world and is grown all over, but its true home is in Burgundy, France. Pinot Noir varies from light- to full-bodied and typically has low tannins, making it an ideal match for light to medium fare – not to mention easy to fall in love with. Pinot Noir is one of the grape varieties used in champagne and sparkling wine production.

Pinot Blanc
Pinot Blanc, the lesser known of the Pinot family, is a fun discovery for the wine adventurer. Offering fruity, citrusy and floral aromas, this varietal is meant to be enjoyed while it’s young, fresh and crisp. Look out for labels like Weissburgunder, Klevner and Pinot Bianco.

Pinot Meunier
Traditionally used in champagne alongside Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this obscure red varietal is challenging to find on its own. Compared to the Pinot Noir grape, Pinot Meunier ripens earlier in the vineyard and is much more reliable. It’s medium-bodied, aromatic, smoky, mysterious and best enjoyed young. When you find a bottle, snap it up right away!

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