Moscato vs Pinot Grigio


If you love lighter white wines, then you’re probably a fan of Moscato and Pinot Grigio.

Pinot Grigio is dryer and less perfumed than Moscato. Most Moscato is more aromatic and sweeter than Pinot Grigio. Both wines are widely available.

Pinot Grigio Basics: Italy’s White Wine

Moscato vs pinot grigio - pinot grigio wine 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.

Moscato Basics: Perfumed Heaven

Moscato, known for its aromatic richness, comes from an ancient family of grapes. What you’re thinking about as Moscato, is probably a slightly sweet, aromatic perfumed white wine, maybe with a kiss of fizz. Moscato has honeysuckle, white flower, grape, and ripe citrus aromas.

Helpful Tip: Check out this complete guide to Muscat wine.

Wine Comparison: Pinot Grigio vs. Moscato

Here’s a concise side-by-side comparison highlighting the key characteristics of Pinot Grigio and Moscato.

Characteristics Moscato Pinot Grigio
Hue Pale Lemon Pale Lemon
Color White White
Aromas Honeysuckle, mandarin, grape, nectarine, floral Citrus, green apple, pear
Sweetness Mostly off-dry (little sweetness) Mostly dry
Acid Medium to High High
Alcohol (%) 5-11% (always low) 12-13.5%
Body Light to Medium Light
Intensity Pronounced Medium
Key Growing Regions Italy, California, Australia Italy, California, Oregon
Classic Pairings Fruit, salads, solo sipping Seafood, light salads, chicken
Price Range $5-$20 $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.

Moscato Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Moscato is renowned for its sweetness, offering a range from semi-sweet to sweet styles.
  • Alcohol: Moscato wines typically have a lower to moderate alcohol content, ranging from around 5% to 8% ABV.
  • Body: Moscato is characterized by its light body, making it a delightful choice for those seeking a sweeter experience.
  • Acid: While still present, Moscato’s acidity is more subdued compared to Pinot Grigio.
  • Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Moscato boasts intense floral and fruity aromas, with a focus on notes like orange blossom, peach, and apricot.
  • Flavors: The flavor profile often includes a burst of tropical and stone fruit flavors, honey, and a hint of citrus.

Are Pinot Grigio and Moscato Similar?

Pinot Grigio and Moscato tend to be made into single varietal wines and aren’t traditionally blended with other white wine grapes during the winemaking process. They’re both commonly made using stainless steel instead of oak barrels to showcase the grapes’ pure fruit characteristics.

What Is the Difference Between Pinot Grigio and Moscato?

Moscato tends to be sweeter, more aromatic, and lower in alcohol than Pinot Grigio. Often, Moscato has a slight spritz to it. Moscato also has a richer aroma profile with floral perfume.

Pinot Grigio vs. Moscato Winemaking

Both Pinot Grigio and Moscato undergo meticulous winemaking techniques aimed at preserving freshness and minimizing oxidation. Common practices include stainless steel fermentation and temperature control.

However, winemakers often experiment with diverse styles of Pinot Grigio, specifically, such as barrel fermentation and extended skin contact, leading to innovative expressions of Pinot Grigio, for example, with orange wines.

Pinot Grigio vs. Moscato: Food Pairings and Serving Temperature

Moscato vs pinot grigio - salads
Both Moscato and Pinot Grigio will pair well with salads.

Pinot Grigio’s delicate fruit and floral character make it a versatile companion for a variety of dishes, including appetizers, white meats, and lighter vegetarian cuisine. Moscato, with its sweeter profile and aromatic richness, pairs exceptionally well with salads, fruit dishes, and creamy cheeses.

Helpful Tip: Both wines will work with Brie and goat cheese if you’re doing a cheese tasting.

Both Pinot Grigio and Moscato are best enjoyed chilled. You shouldn’t need to decant either Pinot Grigio or Moscato.

Which Is More Expensive, Pinot Grigio vs. Moscato?

When comparing Pinot Grigio and Viognier, it’s natural to consider their relative costs.

Pinot Grigio Cost

Entry-level Pinot Grigio wines are typically budget-friendly, ranging from $5 to $10 per bottle. These wines deliver refreshing and crisp flavors, making them accessible for casual sipping. More premium Pinot Grigio wines are priced around $25 to $50+ USD.

Helpful Wine Buying Tip: Look for Pinot Grigio from Italy (of course), but also Oregon and Alsace, France.

Moscato Wine Cost

Entry-level Moscato wines are typically affordable, ranging from $5-$8 USD per bottle. If wine affordability is something you’re thinking about, Moscato is an accessible choice without compromising on the sweet and fruity flavors that make this wine so popular. If you are looking for premium Moscato, there are higher-priced Moscato wines available. These bottles, priced around $15 to $20 or higher, offer a more complex and nuanced drinking experience.

Helpful Wine Buying Tip: Moscato wines aren’t made to age. Always buy the youngest Moscato on the shelf. If you have the option to choose between a Moscato released this year or two years ago, choose this year’s bottle.

Which Is Better: Pinot Grigio or Moscato?

If you prefer a light, dry, and easy-drinking white wine, Pinot Grigio is better. For those who appreciate sweeter, more perfumed wines, then Moscato is better. If want a lower alcohol wine, choose Moscato.

Final Thoughts – Moscato vs Pinot Grigio

I love both of these white wines, but tend to favor Moscato. I love Moscato’s aromatic profile and lower alcohol, making it a perfect afternoon wine.

Pinot Grigio has that crunchy green and tree fruit profile, which goes with aperitifs and (I feel) needs something to munch on while sipping.

Grab two bottles of similarly priced Moscato and Pinot Grigio, gather a few friends, and indulge in an afternoon of exploration.

Thirsty for More?

Here’s how to host your own wine tasting at home. This is the best way to learn about wines.

Love sweet white wines? Here’s a list of sweet white wines you should explore next.

Prefer light white wines similar to Pinot Grigio? Here’s a list of Pinot Grigio-esque white wines worthy of your time.

And here’s a random post on how wine bottles get priced (a little nerdy, but interesting if you like that kind of thing).

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