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Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio - The Key Differences

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Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are extremely popular. They’re the perfect choice if you’re new to the wine scene, or if you’re a seasoned wine lover.

You can enjoy a glass of Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio with many types of food, or at social events, birthdays. 

It’s a versatile drink perfect for any mood, occasion, or time of the year.

You may be wondering what the difference is between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio - they sound very similar, but do they taste similar? Is one more expensive than the other?

Keep reading to learn the key differences between the two.

 

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What Is The Difference Between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio?

Although they have slightly different names, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are made from the same grape.

However, the taste and flavour profiles of the wine can vary depending on the region in which it's produced, as vintners will use different methods.

So basically, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same wine made using the same grape - the difference only occurs when vintners make slight changes during the winemaking process.

The Pinot Gris/ Pinot Grigio grape is a white grape with a greyish appearance but can develop brown or pink skin when left on the vine for longer.

The grape’s colour is where the grape gets its name - Gris means grey in French, and Grigio means grey in Italian.

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are both extremely popular white wines, and you can find them on the shelves of any good supermarket in the UK.

It’s a light, crisp wine with flavours of citrus, green apple, and peach - and may develop further flavours as the wine ages. Some notable secondary and tertiary flavours include marzipan and nutty notes.

To learn about the calories in Pinot Grigio, click here.

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio can pair perfectly with many different types of food. Click here for some delicious Pinot Grigio food pairings.

 

Flavour

Regardless of the region in which it’s produced, Pinot Grigio/ Pinot Gris is a crisp dry wine that’s perfect for beginners to the wine scene and wine lovers alike.

Typically, it has tones of apple, citrus, and minerals, and some Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris brands will even feature a slightly salty flavour.

Pinot Grigio is perfect if you prefer a lighter wine, and is ideal if you’re not used to drinking wine. In fact, many people refer to Pinot Grigio as a starter wine.

Some critics have suggested that Pinot Grigio lacks flavour, but most people love the light flavours.

Although the flavour isn’t super unique or overpowering, it’s a versatile wine that’s perfect for any occasion - whether you’re out for lunch with friends, you’re celebrating a birthday, or you’re simply winding down after a long week.

However, if you have a taste for full-bodied or sweeter wines, then you may opt for a different type of wine such as a darker red.

You’ll find that most quality Pinot Grigio isn’t particularly sweet, but many more commercial (and cheaper) brands will offer sweeter wine due to higher amounts of residual sugar from the fermentation process.

Cheaper bottles of Pinot Grigio/ Pinot Gris are often marketed towards those who aren’t big wine drinkers.

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris can also taste sweeter depending on when the grapes were harvested from the vine.

The later the grapes are harvested, the sweeter the wine will be. This is due to the naturally occurring sugars in the grapes.

Late harvest Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio is recommended for those who prefer a sweeter wine - however, late harvest wine can be more calorific due to the higher amounts of sugar.

As we previously mentioned, the taste of the wine can vary depending on where it was produced, and different regions will offer slightly different variations.

Pinot Gris was the first variation, originating in France with a sweeter, richer taste. Pinot Grigio from Alsace will often have a lighter, crisper taste.

You’ll find some variations that feature the taste of honeycomb, lemon, apricot, spices, ginger, pastries, melon, pear, and even floral notes.

 

Location

The region in which the grapes are grown and the wine is produced can determine how the wine tastes.

The Pinot Gris grape and resulting wine first originated in France, from the Burundian Pinot grape family.

However, the wine gained popularity in Northern Italy with the name Pinot Grigio.

Italy is the largest producer of Pinot Grigio in the world, with over 24.5 thousand hectares of Pinot Grigio plantings in the country.

Wine produced using these grapes in Italy has always been called Pinot Grigio - and Italian Pinot Grigio is one of the tastiest in the world.

Pinot Grigio is most commonly grown in the North East regions of Italy - including Lombardy, Fruili, and Veneto - and then imported all around the world.

The US and UK and some of the biggest drinkers of Pinot Grigio from these regions, as people love the refreshingly crisp taste.

Pinot Grigio from Italy is always fresh, crisp, and lighter-bodied, with flavours from stone fruits, floral aromas, and even a hint of spice.

However, Pinot Grigio isn’t just limited to Italy - it’s produced and enjoyed all around the world, from the warm climates of California to the colder Austrian mountains.

Pinot Gris produced in Alsace, France is almost always more full-bodied than Pinot Grigio from Northern Italy, with richer and spicier flavours and a slightly thicker texture.

Pinot Gris has much more ageing potential when stored correctly, whether it be in a wine cellar, wine cooler, or wine cabinet.

The Alsacian Pinot Gris grape also often features in late-harvest botrytis wines.

For example, quality dessert wine Ventages Tardives, or even richer and sweeter Selection de Grains Noble (also known as SGN). However, SGN often comes with a premium price tag.

Alsace is known for making a variety of styles - as well as heavier, richer styles of Pinot Gris, you can find light and dry styles.

Richer Pinot Gris’s from Alsace typically have notes of ginger, spice, pear, apricot, and melon, as well as floral notes.

Pinot Gris from Alsace is often fruitier than Pinot Grigio from Northern Italy. However, you may find that Pinot Grigio from New Zealand and Australia are pretty fruity.

New Zealand styles of Pinot Grigio often feature flavours of tropical fruits and minerals, offering a refreshing variation of the Pinot Grigio we know and love.

Likewise, Australian varieties often feature fruity flavours. You can determine which Australian variation is Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio depending on whether it follows the French or Italian style.

If you’re unsure, sweeter, richer styles of the wine will be Pinot Gris, whereas lighter drier styles of the wine will often be labelled Pinot Grigio.

 

Cost

You may be wondering what is more expensive - Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio. Well, unfortunately, the answer isn’t a clear one.

Like with any wine, the cost will often depend on the vintner, the quality of the wine, and the overall brand.

You can find Pinot Gris bottles for under £10, with an average supermarket cost of between £7 and £12.

However, the sweetest style is called Heppenheimer Centgericht Rulander Trockenbeerenauslese Pinot Gris, and it sells for over £200.

You can buy bottles of Pinot Grigio bottles in your local supermarket or off-licence for as low as £4/5, but more expensive variations such as La Castellana Pinot Grigio Collio and Radikon Sivi Venezia Guilia IGT can set you back more than £40.

If you’re looking for organic vegan Pinot Grigio, then you can purchase bottles from ThinK Wine for £21 per bottle - just click here! 

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