Whether you’re looking at the wine list at a favorite restaurant or searching the liquor store for the best wine to pair with dinner, you may have wondered about the difference between wines like pinot gris vs pinot grigio. Although you know they’re both white wines, your knowledge about them might end there. So what is the difference between the two wines?
The main difference between pinot gris and pinot grigio is their country of origin. Even though they come from the same type of grape, there are actually differences in their taste as well. Pinot grigio is a more popular type of wine and has more citrus flavor while pinot gris is sweeter.
No matter what type of wine you’re in the mood for, both pinot gris and pinot grigio are excellent choices. Keep reading to find out the differences between them as well as what to pair each with.
Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio: What Is the Difference?
You might have heard some people say pinot gris and pinot grigio are actually the same wine and there’s no difference between them, but that’s only part of the truth. It’s not quite accurate to say they’re exactly the same but they are made from the same type of grape.
Since pinot gris and pinot grigio originated in different countries, their flavor is slightly different as well. Wine making has been a part of European culture for thousands of years and many regions have their own style for making wine.
The main difference between pinot gris and pinot grigio is that pinot gris is originally from France while pinot grigio is from Italy. Even though they come from the same grape variety, there are some differences between them as far as the taste. The difference in flavor will depend on where the wine is made, but when the pinot grigio is made in Italy, it has a much sweeter flavor then pinot grigio made elsewhere.
When you compare both types of wine, pinot gris is sweeter than pinot grigio while pinot grigio has hints of citrus. If you do purchase a lower quality version of either wine, you might have a more challenging time telling the difference. The best bottles of pinot gris and pinot grigio have complex flavors that distinguish one from the other.
Since they have different flavors and places of origin, you’ll find that pinot gris and pinot grigio pair well with different types of food as well.
Main Differences Between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio
When comparing the highest quality versions of white wines, there are many differences between pinot gris and pinot grigio. Here are the main differences between them:
- Their country of origin
The main difference between pinot gris and pinot grigio is where they come from. While pinot gris originated in France, pinot grigio originated in Italy.
- Their taste
Even though they’re made from the same grape variety, there is a difference in their tasting notes. While authentic pinot gris from France is sweeter, pinot grigio from Italy is more tart with hints of citrus.
- What they pair with
The overall flavor and tasting notes make a big difference in what they pair well with. There are different recommendations for what you should pair with pinot gris vs pinot grigio.
What Is Pinot Gris?
Pinot gris is a type of white wine originally from France. A white wine made from the same variety of grape is called pinot grigio in Italy. However, they’re not the same exact wine.
The gris, or gray, part in the name comes from the grayish color of the grapes. The variety of wine known as pinot gris originated from the region of France known as Alsace and this is still where you’ll find the highest quality pinot gris today.
The pinot gris grape actually came from the pinot noir grape, which is a red-wine grape. Pinot gris is a delicious white wine with flavors such as lemon, lime, and pear. The flavors present will vary depending on the way the wine is made and where the grapes are from.
Typically, pinot gris is known for its citrus flavor. When it’s made with grapes that are fully ripened, it has less acidity. This wine isn’t as sweet as other types, but the pinot gris variety from Alsace, France is typically sweeter than pinot grigio from Italy.
What Is Pinot Grigio?
Despite the different names, pinot grigio comes from the same grape variety as pinot gris. The two names are often used interchangeably, however, the main difference between pinot grigio and gris is the country of origin. Often, there are different flavors in pinot grigio and pinot gris because the country of origin and the way they’re made impacts the flavor.
When you compare pinot grigio to pinot gris, pinot grigio is not as sweet. Unlike pinot gris, pinot grigio comes from Northeast Italy and some of the highest quality pinot grigio is still made there.
While there are cheaper versions of pinot grigio out there, high-quality pinot grigio is lighter than pinot gris and has complex flavors of citrus and apple. Even though it’s dry, it still has a hint of sweetness and it pairs well with numerous types of dishes. If you do buy a cheap version of pinot grigio, you’ll notice that it’s much sweeter than more expensive bottles of pinot grigio.
The Best Wine Pairings for Both Wine Types
Wine experts and chefs alike will tell you that the wine you drink with dinner can completely change the flavors of your meal. If this is the case, it’s important to know what to pair your wine with to ensure the flavors mix well together.
Whether you’re cooking a meal at home and looking for the right wine or you’re dining out at a restaurant, here’s a look at what foods you can pair with both pinot gris and pinot grigio.
What to Pair with Pinot Gris
When deciding what to pair with pinot gris, consider its country of origin. Pinot gris comes from France and pairs well with many French dishes and ingredients, including delicious cheeses and even spicy meals.
You can pair pinot gris with:
Since pinot gris is sweeter than pinot grigio, you can balance out the flavor with some things that are savory or spicy like pasta dishes or an elegant cheese plate. Pinot gris pairs especially well with strong cheeses like manchego or munster.
What to Pair with Pinot Grigio
As an Italian variety of wine, there’s no doubt that pinot grigio pairs well with many delicious Italian foods. Since like pinot gris, pinot grigio is a lighter wine, it pairs well with lighter foods as well.
You can pair pinot grigio with:
- Roasted vegetables
Pinot grigio is still a light wine like pinot gris, but most varieties will be more citrusy than pinot gris and not as sweet. This means that they pair with certain dishes that are savory but not as salty. You can even pair pinot grigio with your favorite sushi rolls or crab cakes.
Choosing the Right Wine for Dinner
If you’re a fan of white wine, you’ve likely tried either pinot gris or pinot grigio at some point. Both wines are delicious, fruity, and citrusy even though there are some differences in their tasting notes and what they pair well with.
Whether you’re picking up a bottle of wine from the store or you’re choosing from the wine list at a restaurant, there are numerous ways to enjoy both types of wine. If you’re interested in trying out the differences, pick up a bottle of both and see how they compare.