Pinot Gris (Grauburgunder, Ruländer)

The Pinot Gris is the most comprehensible link between Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc within the large Pinot family. It has been cultivated in Austria since the 14th Century.

Origin

probably France

Parentage

Mutation of the variety Blauburgunder

Vineyard area

226 ha, 0.5%

A picture shows grapes of the grape variety Grauburgunder
© AWMB / Oberleitner

Origin: Grauburgunder (Pinot gris) was brought from Burgundy to Austria in the 13th or 14th century by Cistercian monks – which is why the variety once was referred to as the Grauer Mönch, or gray monk. The grape made its way to Germany from Burgundy or Champagne, and in 1711, it was found in a vineyard – which no longer exists - by businessman Johann Seger Ruland from Speyer.  From there, the variety was planted under the name of Ruländer.

Vineyard area: Mostly in northern Burgenland and the Steiermark.  The vineyard area decreased continuously between 1999 and 2015.

Important ampelographic features:
Leaf: pentagonal, three to five lobes, slightly overlapping petiole
Grape cluster: small, densely compact berries; cylindrical; occasionally shouldered, with small round berries having greyish-red thin skins. Before the grapes ripen, it is difficult to differentiate the variety from Blauburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc). Only the colour of the ripened grapes and the ripening time confirm the identity.

Ripening time: mid-early season

Significance, conditions: The variety reaches a high natural sugar content and is, therefore, well-suited for Spätlese and Auslese styles. The vines are demanding and prefer warm, sloped sites with deep nutrient-rich soil and good water retention.

Wine: Yields soft dry wines and sweet wines with very persistent, understated varietal aromas that last and last. When harvested very early, the wines become light and sparkling. As it is prone to Botrytis – which develops to noble rot when it appears later in the season – the Grauburgunder often shows a strong palate characterized by the Botrytis with its typical honey tone. Achieves high quality after appropriate aging in the cellar.