Grüner Veltliner vs Pinot Grigio: Refreshing Whites


Grüner Veltliner vs Pinot Grigio is a natural comparison.

Pinot Grigio and Grüner Veltliner are both citrus-driven white wines. Grüner Veltliner has higher acid and white pepper. Pinot Grigio is more affordable and widely available.

TL;DR: If you love Pinot Grigio, at some point you need to try Grüner Veltliner.

Here’s what you need to know about the differences between Pinot Grigio and Grüner Veltliner.

Pinot Grigio Basics: Everyday White

pinot grigio vs gruner veltliner - pinot grigio wine profile infographic

Originating from Italy, Pinot Grigio has soared to international fame owing to its approachable and versatile nature. Predominantly associated with renowned wine regions like Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Pinot Grigio has a delicate flavor profile with subtle fruit notes and enchanting floral aromas. It stands out for its light to medium body, delivering a refreshing and easily approachable drinking experience.

Helpful Tip: Check out the complete guide to Pinot Grigio wines here.

Grüner Veltliner: Crisp and Crunchy

Grüner Veltliner vs pinot grigio - Grüner Veltliner wine profile infographic

Grüner Veltliner is Austria’s signature white wine grape. Grüner Veltliner has a light to medium-bodied profile with vibrant green apple, citrus, white pepper and a distinctive minerality.

The wine’s clean and crisp finish is achieved through fermentation in stainless steel tanks, preserving its natural freshness and fruitiness.

Helpful Tip: Here’s the complete guide to Grüner Veltliner.

Austria’s Famed Grüner Veltliner Winegrowing Regions

  • Wachau
  • Kamptal
  • Kremstal
  • Weinviertel

Wine Comparison: Pinot Grigio vs. Grüner Veltliner

Here’s a side-by-side comparison highlighting the key differences and similarities between Pinot Grigio and Grüner Veltliner.

Characteristics Grüner Veltliner Pinot Grigio
Hue Pale lemon Pale lemon
Color White White
Aromas White pepper, green apple, citrus Citrus, pear, green apple
Sweetness Dry Dry
Acid High Medium to high
Alcohol (%) 12-13% 12-13%
Body Light to medium Light
Intensity Moderate Moderate
Key Growing Regions Austria (Niederösterreich) Italy, Alsace, California
Classic Pairings Seafood, salads, asparagus Light pasta, seafood, salads
Price Range $15-$30 $10-$25

Pinot Grigio Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Typically produced in a dry style, Pinot Grigio offers minimal residual sugar.
  • Alcohol: Pinot Grigio wines generally feature moderate alcohol content, ranging from around 11% to 13% ABV.
  • Body: Recognized for its light to medium body, Pinot Grigio ensures a refreshing and easy-drinking experience.
  • Acid: Pinot Grigio tends to have medium-plus to high acid.
  • Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Pinot Grigio presents delicate flavors and aromas, with subtle floral nuances and hints of stone fruits.
  • Flavors: The profile often includes notes of pear, green apple, lemon zest, and sometimes a touch of almond or honey.

Fun Wine Fact: Pinot Grigio is known as Pinot Gris in France. Despite the nomenclature difference, both terms refer to the same grape variety.

Gruner Veltliner Wine Profile

  • Body: Gruner Veltliner has a light to medium-bodied profile, delivering a clean and easy-drinking experience.
  • Flavor Profile: Obvious flavors of green apple, citrus, and mineral. Gruner Veltliner won’t be as intense on the nose, but you should get the aromas clearly.
  • Acidity: Gruner Veltliner typically features refreshing acidity, enhancing its fruit-forward nature.
  • Versatility: Gruner Veltliner is a great solo sipper or perfect pairing partner for creamy dishes, white fish, fresh cheese, and salads.

Are Pinot Grigio and Gruner Veltliner Similar?

Yes, Pinot Grigio and Gruner Veltliner are similar. Both wines have a light to medium-bodied profile, offering a pleasant and balanced drinking experience. Both wines have refreshing acidity, making them lively and vibrant, with green fruit and citrus.

What Is the Difference Between Pinot Grigio and Gruner Veltliner?

Gruner Veltliner will always be high acid and have a distinctive white pepper character. Pinot Grigio can have lower acid levels and won’t have the peppery note in it.

Fun Wine Tip: Gruner Veltliner’s signature white pepper is what sets it apart during blind tastings.

Pinot Grigio vs. Gruner Veltliner Winemaking

pinot grigio versus gruner veltliner winery

Winemakers commonly ferment both Pinot Grigio and Gruner Veltliner in stainless steel tanks, preserving their freshness and fruit-forward flavors.

However, winemakers often play with Pinot Grigio extending skin contact time or fermenting in barrel, making fuller-bodied more texture styles.

Fun Fact: Fermenting white wines on their skins is how you get orange wines. Check it out.

Pinot Grigio vs Gruner Veltliner: Food Pairings and Serving Temperature

pinot grigio vs gruner veltliner - salad

Gruner Veltliner and Pinot Grigio share a clean and delicate character making them versatile partners for light pasta dishes, white fish, shellfish, white meats, and mild cheeses.

Pinot Grigio and Gruner Veltliner Serving Temperature

WineIdeal Serving Temperature
Pinot GrigioChilled (around 45-50°F or 7-10°C)
Gruner VeltlinerChilled (around 45-50°F or 7-10°C)

Both Pinot Grigio and Gruner Veltliner are best served chilled, allowing their refreshing qualities to shine through.

Pinot Grigio and Gruner Veltliner wines are ready to drink immediately after opening, with no need for decanting or extended aeration.

Which Is More Expensive, Pinot Grigio vs Gruner Veltliner?

pinot grigio vs gruner veltliner - pinot grigio bottles

Pinot Grigio is widely available and produced in vast quantities, much more so than Gruner Veltliner. You’ll pay a premium for Gruner Veltliner just because it’s not as well-known and exported.

Pinot Grigio Cost

  • Entry-level Pinot Grigio wines are usually priced between $5 and $10 per bottle. These wines provide excellent value for everyday enjoyment, showcasing the grape’s vibrant flavors.
  • More premium Pinot Grigio wines are priced around $15-$25

Gruner Veltliner Wine Cost

  • Entry-level Gruner Veltliner wines are generally available from $10 to $15 per bottle. These wines offer an accessible introduction to the grape’s delicate charm.
  • Premium and top-tier Gruner Veltliner wines can range from $20 to $40 or more, reflecting superior quality and distinctive expressions.

Which Is Better: Pinot Grigio or Gruner Veltliner?

If you enjoy a zesty and vibrant wine with a tamer acid level and bright juicy fruit, Pinot Grigio is the better choice. If you want an intense, linear high-acid white with overt citrus and a peppery note, then try Grüner Veltliner. If you’re price sensitive, Pinot Grigio is the better choice because it’s less expensive

Final Thoughts – Pinot Grigio or Grüner Veltliner?

Pinot Grigio vs Grüner Veltliner - white wine salad

Pinot Grigio is the everyday white that’s affordable and inoffensive. Grüner Veltliner is the grown-up version that you need to try at some point. I keep Grüner Veltliner in my cellar. I don’t keep Pinot Grigio on hand.

  • Hosting a side-by-side tasting is the best way to explore the differences between these two classic white wines.
  • Get yourself 2 bottles of similarly priced Pinot Grigio and Grüner Veltliner, invite a few friends over, and do your own tasting.

If you love Pinot Grigio, at some point you need to try Grüner Veltliner.

Discover More:
Pinot Grigio vs Albarino
Chardonnay vs Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Blanc
Pinot Grigio vs Vermentino

Thirsty for More?

If you’re eager to delve further into the world of wine, consider hosting your own wine tasting for beginners.

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