Results from the 2023 Nationals – Pinot Gris/Grigio

Announcing the Results from the 2023 National Wine Awards of Canada

The 22nd running of the National Wine Awards of Canada wrapped up on June 28 in Penticton. Category results will be rolling out throughout the rest of July, with the final Platinum, Best Performing Small Winery, and Winery of the Year announcements coming at the end of this month. We hope you will stay tuned to follow the results and become engaged in anticipating the final results.

We’ve asked a few of our judges to summarize their impressions of each category. Today we are pleased to present the Pinot Gris/Grigio winners.

Pinot Gris/Grigio

A Gris it’s a Grigio, but just another name

Category Overview by Judge Michael Godel

Not all judges relish in tasting and scoring the National Wine Awards of Canada pinot gris/grigio flights but this year the mood felt different. At the 2023 NWACs nearly all of the entries were pleasing, many more than that and the top end delivered some of the competition’s most surprising results.

“Gris” is to the French as “Grigio” is to the Italian, but the grape is the same and it is only the matters of origin or style that separate the two. Italian pinot grigio comes mainly from that country’s northeast regions while pinot gris is primarily a concern of Alsace. Meanwhile the variety has proliferated world wide and Canadian producers continue to plant more and more. Some examples pay ode to Italy but for the most part it is pinot gris and therefore a nod to France that occupies this country’s varietal vernacular.

There were 84 entries and 48 medals awarded in the gris/grigio category – that’s 56 percent receiving medals, which was just seven percent below the competition’s average. With 15 percent top (Gold or higher) honours that number was right on par which is frankly a win-win for consumers from a set of producers’ wines that generally impressed the judges. Most surprising was the Platinum winner, not because of the producer but because the wine at $14.95 was the least expensive of the entries. Kudos to EastDell Estates in Niagara, Ontario for their 94-point scoring, Platinum winning 2021. Labeled pinot grigio by the way.

Meanwhile the 12 Golds were weighted heavily to British Columbia with just one winner from Ontario. All 12 Golds were labeled pinot gris. Of the remaining 34 medals only two were grigio and nine from Ontario. British Columbia pinot gris outshines Ontario by a wide margin and yet in 2023 the top of the podium is occupied by an Ontario pinot grigio. An anomaly perhaps but the results do not lie.

There are now so many well made gris and grigio, nearly all of which fall into the $15–30 price range and two-thirds of the medallists are under $25. This will surely translate to consumer confidence in knowing that quality and value go hand in hand.

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