Aussies are quite inventive when a vexing question comes up and confusion prevails.

This time the discussion is between what constitutes pinot gris and what is pinot grigio when they are in fact the same grape.

Winemakers and marketers use both labels with quite a lot of leeway such that there is little consumer understanding of what’s really in the bottle.

Some drinkers work it out, some don’t, some stay confused while others get cranky when the wine expected to be dry, turns out off-dry.

Well what a shambles. That was pre the new PinotG Style Spectrum just starting to be rolled out on back labels of Treasury Wine Estate ranges made from 2010.

Look for it first on the T’Gallant branded pinot gs. The company winemaker, and original pinot g crank, Kevin McCarthy approached the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) in 2007. The AWRI is this country’s world class site of wine industry-led research.

The AWRI together with a commercial partner has built a machine which can identify fake wine. Or more precisely, without removing cork/screw cap, an operator can direct an x-ray beam of light through the bottle to take a fingerprint. Bottles from the same batch without that fingerprint are obviously fake.

Using this instrument AWRI staff took on board Kevin’s request by testing hundreds of bottles of world-wide pinot grigio/gris. Afterwards the same wines were sent to a taste panel who profiled each wine; in particular determining the sweetness, texture, alcohol and cleverly separated the gris from the grigio without knowing the label identity.

AWRI mathematicians then calibrated the instrument so that any additional gris/grigio as with T’Gallant’s 2010 wines which can be measured on texture type from crisp to luscious.

You see there is a trademarked scale included on the back label of wines adopting the PinotG Style Spectrum from this year.

The thin, acidic, lower alcohol, unwooded, razor-sharp types will be at the left of the scale (crisp) while the rich, high alcohol, oaked, heavy extract, oily styles will be at the right, termed luscious.

Sweetness for the crisp types is 0-2 g/l sugar up to 10 g/l for luscious. It does not include dessert style wines.

There is also an international sweetness scale appearing for riesling wines as a result of some inter-continental collaboration by riesling makers.

I spied one on Peter Lehmann Dry Riesling 2009 from Eden Valley.

So future drinking generations will have silent wine assistance from these scales.

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