Altough the skin of the Grauburgunder grape is coloured reddish-grey, it is classified as a white wine variety. It is also commonly known as Pinot Gris in France and Pinot Grigio in Italy.
Grauburgunder denotes the sleeker, drier style, which harmonizes with many types of food, while the richer, fuller-bodied and more fragrant version is called Ruländer. The latter is named after a businessman from Speyer, Johann Ruland, who discovered the grape in the early 18th century and made it popular.
Grauburgunder can produce a wide range of flavours, reminiscent of pears, almonds, nuts and pineapple. It has an impressive stylistic diversity: Besides the dry, fresh Pinot Gris style, which can be enjoyed on the terrace or at a picnic, and the already mentioned Ruländer variant, there is also the rich type matured in barriques, as well as noble sweet Pinot Gris. Similarly to Pinot Blanc, it is very well suited for sparkling wine.
This variety needs vineyards with deep, heavy soil and is harvested around the same time as Weißburgunder. It is more prominent in Baden, Rheinhessen and the Pfalz and currently represents 6.5% of Germany's total vineyard area.