What Is The Difference Between Pinot Grigio And Pinot Gris

When talking about white wines, it’s common for people to confuse Pinot Grigio with Pinot Gris. Despite their similarities, there are key differences that distinguish them as unique varieties of wine. Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot …

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When talking about white wines, it’s common for people to confuse Pinot Grigio with Pinot Gris. Despite their similarities, there are key differences that distinguish them as unique varieties of wine.

Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot Gris: Origins

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris actually come from the same grape variety, known as Pinot Gris in France and Pinot Grigio in Italy. The name “Pinot” refers to the pine cone-like shape of the grape clusters, while “Gris” and “Grigio” mean gray in French and Italian respectively, describing the color of the grape skins.

Pinot Grigio originates from the northeastern region of Italy, specifically from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Veneto regions. It is a light and crisp wine, with high acidity and flavors of citrus fruits.

On the other hand, Pinot Gris is primarily associated with the Alsace region in France. It is a fuller-bodied wine with a richer texture and flavors of ripe orchard fruits like apple and pear. The grapes are harvested later, resulting in a wine with higher sugar levels and lower acidity compared to its Italian counterpart.

Winemaking Techniques

The winemaking techniques used for Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris also contribute to their differences in taste and style. In Italy, Pinot Grigio is typically vinified in stainless steel tanks, which preserves the wine’s freshness and acidity. This style of winemaking results in a light, zesty, and refreshing wine that is easy to drink.

In contrast, Pinot Gris in Alsace is often fermented and aged in oak barrels. This gives the wine more complexity, a fuller body, and subtle flavors of spice and vanilla. The oak aging process adds depth and richness to the wine, making it more suitable for aging.

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Flavor Profile

Pinot Grigio is known for its light, crisp, and refreshing character. It offers delicate aromas of lemon, lime, green apple, and sometimes a hint of tropical fruits. On the palate, it is light-bodied with high acidity, making it a perfect wine for hot summer days or as an aperitif.

Pinot Gris, on the other hand, has a richer and more complex flavor profile. It showcases aromas of ripe orchard fruits like apple, pear, and quince, along with honey and floral notes. The wine has a fuller body with a velvety texture and a touch of sweetness, balancing its lower acidity.

Food Pairing

Both Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are versatile wines that can be paired with a variety of dishes. Pinot Grigio’s zesty acidity makes it a great match for light and fresh seafood, salads, and chicken dishes. Its crispness can help cut through the richness of creamy pasta sauces or cheeses.

Pinot Gris, with its richer texture and subtle flavors, pairs well with slightly richer dishes like roasted chicken, pork, or sautéed mushrooms. It also goes well with creamy sauces and soft cheeses, like Brie or Camembert. For a perfect match, try pairing Pinot Gris with Alsatian regional dishes, such as choucroute garnie or coq au Riesling.


In conclusion, while Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris share the same grape variety, they have distinct differences in taste, style, and origin. Pinot Grigio is crisp, light, and refreshing, originating from Italy, while Pinot Gris is fuller-bodied with complex flavors, originating from France. The winemaking techniques and flavor profiles further highlight these differences. Whether you prefer the zesty acidity of Pinot Grigio or the richness of Pinot Gris, both wines offer unique experiences that can elevate any occasion.

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John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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