Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris) came to Italy by way of Burgundy, where it has been planted since the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the grapes gray-colored skin (gris is French for grey) and the shape of its clusters (pinot is French for pine cone). Although various circumstances led to a decreased production of Pinot Gris in Burgundy, the grape thrives in Italys high elevation Alps, where the cool weather and early harvesting maintains its naturally high acidity and prohibits the grape from getting very ripe.
Because of these extreme conditions the best Pinot Grigio comes from northern Italy. The wines tend to have a crisp, light-bodied character with citrus and mineral notes. The aforementioned acidity makes Pinot Grigio a popular apertivo and accompaniment to light bodied dishes. It should always be served slightly chilled.