What is the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio wine?
Here is a very brief summary of the main differences and characteristics that you can trot out at your next dinner party and sound very impressive with. Of course there are books written on the in depth nature of both wines but we are giving you the very short version.
The Origins – French & Italian
Pinot Gris is the French version of the grape varietal, and Pinot Grigio is the Italian version. At a guess and if you have visited either or both countries, you might punt that the Italian version is loud and charismatic, and the French version is subtle with depth. But you might be surprised!
Pinot Grigio is a lighter more savoury style wine, as the grape is picked earlier thus there is lower sugar and ‘crispier’ edges. It has predominant pear flavours with a touch of spice.
Pinot Gris is a fuller bodied style, with higher alcohol levels and more sugar. It still has that mainly pear fruit flavour, but a touch less spice and a bit of clove aroma.
When to Drink?
This is possibly the main area of difference.
Pinot Grigio is perfect for that warm summer day, with salads and seafoods, slightly chilled. It also suits cheese, particularly more acidic styles such as goats cheese.
Pinot Gris is probably slightly more robust and flexible, and can be accompanied with roast chicken dishes especially where there is a creamy tomato sauce for example. For a cheese, the Pinot Gris having a little more fruit, a fuller aroma based cheese would suit, such as wash rind style.
Like any wine however, it’s all about what works for you. It helps to try and match your wines with food to get the best out of both and maximise the flavour profiles – check our guide for Food & Wine Matching.