What Exactly is Pinot Grigio?


White wine, there are so many different types. From light and zesty, bold and dry, light and sweet, and bold and sweet, white wines truly vary in so many different ways.  

So where does Pinot Grigio land in these descriptions? It lands in the light and zesty wine varieties.  Known for being a dry wine with high acidity, this every day wine is delicious. Here is what all you wine drinkers need to know about this delicious dry white wine drink. 

What Does It Taste Like?

Ah, Pinot Grigio. The zesty, refreshing drink choice of women everywhere. Err. People everywhere, or should be anyways. And for obvious reasons: it’s light, crisp, and dry. Sounds like the exact words our copywriter uses to describe our wines here at Bev. But our copywriters also add things like zero sugar and 160 calories because well, that’s what we are. But okay, because you asked we’ll return to the question at hand: what does it taste like? 

Pinot Grigio is known for its  fruit flavors like lime, pear, honeysuckle, and green apple and can have a faint honey note. Due to its high acidity, Pinot Grigio is often less sweet than Chardonnay. 

But, let us ask you this: if we blindfolded you, would you tell the difference between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris? (Don’t worry, we won’t do that to you) 

What Is The Difference Between Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Gris?

Well, for starters, we’ve been lied to our entire lives because Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same types of wine made from the same white wine grapes. We’ll leave a moment for a dramatic pause we envision having if we were telling you this in person.  

Yes, they are literally the same exact grape variety. They are made from a Pinot Grigio grapes that have grayish brown skin. Which is exactly why Gris and Grigio are French and Italian for the same exact word: “grey”.  Mind blown? Yeah, so were we! So even in their names they are the same, just in different languages. Apparently those in the winemaking business had never heard of Google Translator, too bad so sad.  Regardless of where it's grown, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio share the same bright acidity and citrus flavors in their flavor profiles. Pinot Grigio tends to not be as sweet as other wines  due to its acidity. 

The difference in names is due to their region and their creation style rather than because of the varietal. Pinot Grigio wines are typically Italian and, therefore, are made in an Italian style. More specifically, Pinot Grigios are from northeastern Italy in wine regions like Friuli and Alto Adige.  Pinot Grigio is lighter-bodied, crisp and filled with stone fruit and floral aromas and perhaps, a bit of spice.  In contrast, Pinot Gris wines are French, specifically  in the Burgundy and Alsace regions of  France,  and are made in a French style.  They are more full-bodied and have a spicier texture. They also happen to have a greater ageing potential. 

Other less famous places make Pinot Grigio, too, like California and Oregon in the new world, and Australia and New Zealand, as well as other European countries like Austria, where it may be called Grauburgunder. These places may be more famous for wines like Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, but they can still make a great Pinot.  

Needless to say, if you are blindfolded, you can explain that you are not sure you can tell the difference, but still try anyway because you’re competitive, and we like that about you.

Are There Different Types of Pinot Grigio?

Continuing with our education on Italian Pinot Grigio, there are three main types you should know about. There’s minerally & dry, fruity & dry and fruity & sweet. If we’re honest, they all sound like renditions of our many different personalities.  Likewise,  these types also apply to Pinot Gris. 

Knowing the three different types of Pinot, Grigio is something you can guess blindfolded. Here are some suggested keywords you can use while explaining the wines:  ‘lack of fruit flavor with high minerality’ (referring to minerally & dry), “very fruity” (referring to fruity & dry), and “lots of texture and maximum flavor” (referring to fruity & sweet). Here is what you need to know about each.  

Lack of Fruit Flavor or Minerally Dry Pinot Grigio: Well known for coming from Northern Italy, minerally and dry Pinot Grigio are often produced in stainless steel tanks and have lower alcohol levels. Pro tip: try this delicious drink with french fries and a warm day. You can thank us later.  

Very Fruity or Fruity and Dry Pinot Grigios have lemon, apple and peach aromas. Because of these fruits in the aroma, one can tell that these wines were grown in a more sun-friendly climate. These wines are typically less acidic and have more of an oily texture than other wines. This is due to winemakers adding a special bacteria after the wine fermentation that essentially eats the sharp acids and creates smooth acids. For our scientists out there, this process is called Malolactic Fermentation. Malic being the harsh acid and lactic being the oily acid. In general, these wines are created in a stainless steel sake and are not as aged as much.  

Lots of texture and maximum flavor or Fruity and Sweet Pinot Grigio  are a sweet style of Pinot Grigio filled with flavors of sweet lemon and apples. To produce these types of wines, winemakers use advanced technique to create the texture. These techniques often include using late harvest and noble rot grapes in an attempt to increase the flavor potential. 

What Does Pinot Grigio Pair Well With? 

Now, the most important thing you need to know about Pinot Grigio is obviously what food pairings work  with your delicious drink. In a lot of ways, Italian Pinot Grigio is a great starter wine before a meal. Similar to a light beer,  Pinot Grigio is pretty neutral and therefore, is perfect when you’re preparing to feast on a delicious meal!  

Because all of the types of Pinot Grigio are light and delicate, it pairs deliciously with equally light and refreshing meals. Seafood, fish, chickens, and pastas with light sauces are all good examples. They are especially delicious with a Pinot Grigio we know of that has the perfect touch of fizzy, light and refreshing notes of elderflower, pear and zesty grapefruit finish. In general, if you’re looking to pair your drink with something delicious, you want to forgo meals that are heavy with sauces. 

Here are some other great ways to eat alongside your Pinot Grigio: 

FRIED FISH: Fish and chips, anyone? Fried fish and veggies are made to be consumed alongside a good Pinot Grigio pour! 

CHEESE: a great way to start or conclude your meal, cheese tastes good with just about anything in our opinions. But, we admit it tastes especially good with a Pinot Grigio. Look for soft, sweet and mild cheeses because they will bring out the sweet, mellow notes in your drink. Think: Brie, Mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano and Gruyère. Also think: invite the Bev team. 

HUMMUS: avoid highly sugary or salty food items and stick to the hummuses in the world. If you’re not into hummus, other snack items you can, well, snack on, include a fruit plate or a fruit salsa.  

SUSHI: call us anytime if you’re going to order sushi because we’ll be there in a heartbeat with a case of our Bev Gris. While not an obvious pairing, the flavors are complementary and you’ll be glad you gave this pair a chance.