What Does Pinot Grigio Taste Like?
Pinot Grigio is one of the most popular white wines, served in all good bars and restaurants. It’s a delicious wine with a light and zesty taste.
Whether you’ve had a long day of work, you’re out for lunch, or you’re celebrating the weekend with friends, Pinot Grigio is always a good shout.
But how does Pinot Grigio taste? Does it taste different to Pinot Gris? And what foods pair well with the popular white? Keep reading to learn more about Pinot Grigio and how it tastes.
Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Gris
Pinot Grigio originated from the Pinot Gris grape. The Pinot Gris grape is native to France and is used to make sweet and refreshing French Pinot Gris wine.
The Pinot Gris grape moved its way to Northern Italy vineyards, creating the popular white wine we know and love, Pinot Grigio.
Pinot Grigio grapes are grown in Northern Italy vineyards, whether it be Lombardy, Friuli, or the Veneto. Wine made from these grapes in these regions is known as Pinot Grigio - and Northern Italy quickly became the largest producer of Pinot Grigio across the globe.
Both Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris get their name from the colour grey - Grigio means grey in Italian, and Gris means grey in French. This is because the grapes are usually a grey-ish colour when they’re harvested. These grapes come from the Pinot grape family, alongside Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. You may be surprised to learn that Pinot Gris grapes are a mutation of the Pinot Noir grape.
If the grapes are picked any later, then they will have a sweeter taste and have pink-coloured skin. However, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris grapes are picked at the perfect time - early on so the grapes retain fresh acidity as expected with Pinot Grigio.
Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris, although made from the same grape, tend to have subtle differences. This is mostly due to the growing conditions - they differ in France from in Northern Italy.
You’ll find that Pinot Gris is usually sweeter than Pinot Grigio. Pinot Grigio isn’t usually sweet but is crisp and dry. Pinot Gris found in Alsace (Alsatian Pinot Gris) is often sweet, due to the honeycomb and lemon flavours.
What Does Pinot Grigio Taste Like?
Pinot Grigio has a classic taste - described as zesty, crisp, and refreshing. It's light, dry, and crisp. For a wine with such a low amount of calories, it’s surprisingly delicious. If you’re interested in learning about how many calories different wines contain, then check out this post.
It’s known for having refreshing fruity and citrus flavours - notes of pear, green apple, lime, minerals, honeysuckle, and honey. It isn’t particularly sweet - and is usually less sweet than other whites such as Chardonnay.
The ‘zing’ that you may recognise might come from the fermentation process. Pinot Grigio is usually fermented in steel tanks as opposed to wooden barrels. Barrels can cause woody aromas as well as musky aromas. However, the wine fermented in steel tanks will usually have a cleaner and fresher taste.
You can find some brands of Pinot Grigio that have an almost salty flavour - but of course, this depends on the brand. If you prefer a lighter wine, then Pinot Grigio is sure to be the perfect tipple for you. However, if you prefer a fuller-bodied or sweeter wine, then a dark red may be your best choice - as Pinot Grigio is pretty much the opposite.
You may have heard some wine critics suggest that Pinot Grigio lacks flavour, but this is all down to personal preference. If you’re used to full-bodied reds, then you may be slightly underwhelmed by Pinot Grigio. However, if you have a preference for crisp white wines, then you’ll likely appreciate the subtleties of Pinot Grigio.
High-quality bottles of Pinot won’t be particularly sweet, but you can find low-quality bottles and brands of Pinot Grigio that are sweeter than usual - as they have added sugar and artificial flavourings. If Pinot Grigio is your go-to, then be cautious when choosing cheaper bottles as they may have added sugar. Instead, purchase from trusted brands like our very own ThinK Wine.
Does Vegan Pinot Grigio Taste Any Different?
First of all - no, not all Pinot Grigio is vegan. It all comes down to the fining process - after the Pinot Grigio has been fermented, it has a cloudy appearance with sediment floating around. Although the sediment is harmless, usually consisting of proteins, vintners will decide to filter the wine to give it the crisp and clear appearance we know and love.
The fining agents used will sometimes contain animal products such as gelatin, fish oil, fish bladder, egg white, and many more. However, these are only used in minor amounts and are filtered out or evaporated once they’ve served their purpose.
However, you don’t have to look too far for quality Vegan Pinot Grigio. Our vegan Pinot Grigio tastes just like regular Pinot Grigio, if not better.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that vegan products don’t taste as good as the regular product - but this is rarely the case. Have you ever tried vegan mince? It’s delicious!
In the case of vegan wine, there’s no difference in taste. This is because the animal products used during the fining process don’t contribute anything to the flavour, so you won’t notice the difference in taste when they haven’t been used. In fact, you’ve most likely enjoyed vegan wine without even noticing the ‘v’ sticker on the bottle.
Best Pinot Grigio Food Pairings
As Pinot Grigio doesn’t have particularly overwhelming flavours, it can pair well with a variety of foods.
Wines should usually have more acidity and sweetness than the dish that you’re pairing it with - for example, sweet desserts pair better with sweeter wines (e.g dessert wines). They should have the same levels of flavour - so Pinot Grigio won’t usually pair well with dishes with overwhelming flavours.
Pinot Grigio is a deliciously fresh wine that pairs best with light and fresh foods. It’s a great wine to pair with summery dishes such as salads and seafood, as well as lighter risottos. However, be sure to avoid sauces that are heavy in flavour and body. Summery vegetables and salads are a great match for Pinot Grigio, such as garden salads and crudites.
Pinot Grigio has high levels of acidity, so it pairs well with many seafood dishes. However, opt for lighter fish instead of meaty fishes such as tuna. Halibut pairs particularly well with Pinot Grigio, as does salmon and sushi. You can also find shellfish that can make a great food pairing with Pinot Grigio - why not try fresh oysters or scallops?
Chicken can also pair well with Pinot Grigio wine. However, be sure to avoid marinating the chicken in strong herbs and spices. Opt for something lighter, such as white wine or lemon. Why not try a light chicken and pasta dish? Or a seafood pasta dish?
You may think that wine and cheese go hand in hand, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. If you want to pair cheese with your Pinot Grigio, avoid strong cheeses such as cheddar. Softer and milder cheeses pair much better with Pinot Grigio as they work to enhance the wine’s lighter flavours.
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