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Vegan Food Pairings With Pinot Grigio

It can be difficult knowing which food pairs well with wine - and Pinot Grigio is no exception.

Despite being a wine that doesn’t have any overpowering flavours, you can still ruin the taste of the wine by pairing it with the wrong food.

When you have a vegan diet, it can be even more difficult to know what to pair Pinot Grigio with. The wine typically pairs well with seafood, but of course, this isn’t a vegan option.

Keep reading to learn more about Pinot Grigio, including how it tastes, whether Pinot Grigio itself is vegan, and which vegan foods you can pair it with.

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What Is Pinot Grigio?

Pinot Grigio is a crisp white wine made from the popular Pinot Gris grape. The Pinot Gris grape originated in France - specifically the vineyards of Burgundy.

From Burgundy, the wine made its way to Northern Italy where the vines thrived. The grapes are commonly grown in the North-Eastern regions of Lombardy, as well as Friuli and Veneto.

In 2021, Italy is easily the largest producer of Pinot Grigio across the globe.

Despite originating from the French Pinot Gris grape, wine made using that grape in this region has always been called Pinot Grigio.

Italian imports of Pinot Grigio are popular all around the world - especially in the UK and the US.

This is because people love the authentic and crisp flavours that Pinot Grigio offers.

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio have slightly different names - but they are both made from the same grape.

The flavours and aromas vary slightly depending on where exactly on the globe the grape is grown - for example, growing conditions in Lombardy may produce sweeter Pinot Gris, whereas Italy may produce citrusy and crisper flavours.

Other than Italy and France, some of the leading producers of Pinot Grigio include Austria, California, and New Zealand, producing their own nuanced flavour profiles.


Is Pinot Grigio Vegan?

Pinot Grigio is not always vegan - and this boils down to the fining process.

First of all, the wine will get fermented using yeast, which breaks down the naturally occurring sugars in the grapes.

The amount of yeast added to the mix can determine how sweet a wine will be.

The fermentation process produces alcohol, co2, and heat. However, it can also result in an unpleasant texture, with sediment floating around the wine.

This is where the fining agents come into play - the fining agents filter out the sediment and clear the wine.

Some vintners will use fining agents that include animal products such as blood or fish bladder gelatin.

However, in 2021, many winemakers will include other fining agents such as clay minerals that are free from animal products.

Although some brands of Pinot Grigio will be vegan - and you’ve most likely tasted vegan Pinot Grigio without realising - manufacturers don’t always include it on the label, which means it can be confusing knowing what wine is vegan and what wine isn’t.


What Does Pinot Grigio Taste Like?

If you’re not a big wine drinker, Pinot Grigio is probably the white wine you’re more likely to have tried.

It’s an ‘easy’ wine for those who don’t drink much wine, as it doesn’t have any overpowering taste and doesn’t leave a strong aftertaste.

If you love lighter-bodied crisp wines, then Pinot Grigio is a perfect choice.

However, if you prefer reds, sweeter wines, or full-bodied wines, then you may prefer a darker red.

It’s a dry and crisp wine with citrusy and fruity flavours - you’ll likely taste lemon, lime, green apple, as well as blossoms and minerals.

Pinot Grigio isn’t typically sweet - if you’re after a sweeter version of the popular wine, opt for a glass of Pinot Gris.

Pinot Gris produced in Alsace is typically much sweeter than Pinot Grigio from Italy.

Despite being made from the same grapes, they can differ in taste due to the way they’re produced.

If you prefer a sweeter wine, opt for a ‘late harvest’ - as the grapes will be higher in natural sugars as they’ve spent longer on the vine.

You may find that cheaper or more commercial bottles have a sweeter taste due to the higher levels of residual sugar from the fermentation process.

The taste of Pinot Grigio can vary depending on where it was produced - for example, the Pinot Grigio we know and love is typically produced in Northern Italy, featuring refreshing flavours of lemons, limes, green apples, and a hint of honeysuckle.

Although New Zealand and South Australia still capture Pinot Grigio’s signature ‘zing’, when produced in these areas, Pinot Grigio often has fruitier tropical flavours higher in complexity.

Although most people love Pinot Grigio, some people (typically those who are big wine drinkers) believe that it is too simple and is lacking in complexity.

Although the flavour of Pinot Grigio isn’t exceptionally strong, it’s a refreshing and crisp wine perfect for any occasion - especially pairing with food!


Vegan Food Pairings With Pinot Grigio

Wines often pair well with food local to the area the wine is produced - for example, Pinot Grigio produced in the North East Coast of Italy will often pair well with local dishes such as tomato and basil pasta or seafood.

A vegan mushroom or creamy vegetable risotto is certain to complement the citrusy and fruity flavours and aromas of Pinot Grigio.

Mushrooms are used in plenty of vegan dishes, and luckily their flavour profiles pair perfectly with Pinot Grigio.

You could try a vegan-friendly mushroom pasta, Quorn chicken and mushroom pie, or meatless mushroom stroganoff to pair your Pinot with.

Asparagus-based dishes can also pair perfectly with a glass of Pinot Grigio - the acidity levels complement the natural flavours of the asparagus.

Why not try an asparagus-based creamy pasta made using vegan cheese? Or a Quorn chicken and asparagus meal?

Salads can also make a great food pairing with Pinot Grigio - depending on the sweetness levels, a fruity and sweet salad featuring red and yellow peppers could be a great food-pairing option - as could a subtle cucumber green-themed salad.

Salad doesn’t have to be boring - when made correctly and creatively, salads can make a delicious dinner.

If your salad is just a pile of lettuce, then it’s probably not going to be enjoyable - but there are plenty of fruits, vegetables, meat substitutes and dressings that can make a salad go from 0 to 100.

However, when pairing salads with Pinot Grigio, try to avoid overpowering dressings, including vinegar dressing - as it can overpower and even sour the taste of the wine.

The natural qualities of Pinot Grigio mean that it pairs well with earthy and fresh foods.

You don’t have to pair your Pinot Grigio with a whole meal - you could also pair it with a snack.

Try fresh and crunchy crudités with hummus, or even a bunch of grapes with vegan cheese.

They make a brilliant accompaniment with Pinot Grigio and will complement the flavour profiles perfectly.

If you want to find some regular food pairings with Pinot Grigio, click here. 

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