Pinot Grigio: A Comprehensive Guide

Pronunciation: pee-noh GREE-jee-oh

pinot grigio guide - pinot grigio wine profile infographic

Pinot Grigio, a white wine varietal, is a popular choice among wine enthusiasts and curious beginners alike. This guide introduces you to Pinot Grigio.

What Kind of Wine Is Pinot Grigio? 

Pinot Grigio is a light-bodied white wine with moderate acidity, delicate flavors, and a crisp finish. It is known for its refreshing and easy-drinking style, making it a versatile option for various occasions.

Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot Gris: What’s the Difference?

Pinot GrigioPinot Gris
StyleLight, crisp, and refreshingRicher, more full-bodied
OriginCommonly associated with ItalyOften found in Alsace, France
Flavor ProfileDelicate flavors of green apple, citrus fruits, and subtle floral notesRich flavors of stone fruits, tropical fruits, and honey
AcidityVibrant acidityModerate acidity
Serving TemperatureTypically served chilledCan be served slightly warmer than Pinot Grigio
Food PairingVersatile: seafood, salads, light pasta dishes, mild cheesesPairs well with richer dishes, creamy sauces, and poultry
Aging PotentialGenerally consumed youngCan have aging potential
Production RegionsWidely produced in regions like Italy, California, and AustraliaProminent production in Alsace, Oregon, and New Zealand
ColorLight straw-yellow colorDeeper golden or amber color
Winemaking TechniqueShorter skin contact during winemakingCan have longer skin contact for increased flavor extraction
Drinking ExperienceRefreshing and easy-drinkingOffers a more complex and nuanced drinking experience

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are two names for the same grape variety. The difference lies in their style and origin.

Pinot Grigio is commonly associated with the light, crisp, and refreshing style from Italy, while Pinot Gris refers to the richer, more full-bodied expression of the grape, often found in regions like Alsace, France.

Despite the stylistic variation, both wines are made from the same grape and share similar characteristics.

Where Does Pinot Grigio Wine Come From?

Pinot Grigio originated in the Burgundy region of France and is now widely grown in various wine regions around the world. However, it is most famously associated with Italy, particularly the northeastern regions of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige, and Veneto. Italian Pinot Grigio wines are renowned for their crispness, lightness, and vibrant flavors.

Fun Wine Fact: Pinot Noir, a beloved red wine grape, is known for its ancient origins and high mutation rate, which led to the development of other popular varietals like Pinot Grigio.

Pinot Grigio in Italy

Italy is the undisputed champion of Pinot Grigio production. The northeastern regions, such as Friuli-Venezia Giulia, produce some of the finest examples of this wine. Italian Pinot Grigio often displays flavors of citrus, green apple, pear, and melon, with a subtle floral note. These wines are generally unoaked, allowing the pure fruit flavors and natural acidity to shine.

Check out this fantastic video of Pinot Grigio’s place in Italian winemaking:

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Pinot Grigio in Other Regions

Pinot Grigio has gained popularity worldwide and is now produced in numerous countries. In the United States, regions like California and Oregon are known for their crisp and fruit-forward Pinot Grigio wines. Other countries such as Germany, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, and Hungary also cultivate Pinot Grigio, each adding its own unique touch to the wine.

Helpful Wine Buying Tip: Look for Pinot Grigio wines from Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige, and Veneto regions.

What Does Pinot Grigio Smell Like?

pinot grigio wine guide - citrus fruit

Pinot Grigio exhibits a delicate and aromatic profile. It often presents aromas of citrus fruits like lemon, lime, and grapefruit, accompanied by subtle floral notes such as white flowers and jasmine. Some Pinot Grigio wines may also display hints of ripe pear or green apple.

Overall, the aroma is fresh, inviting, and evocative of a sunny crisp fruit.

What Does Pinot Grigio Taste Like?

Pinot Grigio delights the palate with its light and refreshing flavors. The wine typically offers crisp acidity, which contributes to its lively and vibrant character. Expect flavors of citrus fruits, such as lemon and lime, as well as green apple and ripe pear. Pinot Grigio’s light body and subtle mineral notes make it an excellent choice for those seeking a clean and easy-drinking white wine.

How to Serve Pinot Grigio Wine

how to serve pinot grigio-infographic-pinot-grigio-wine-guide


Serve Pinot Grigio chilled, between 45-50°F (7-10°C). Cooling the wine enhances its refreshing qualities and preserves its delicate flavors.


Opt for a standard white wine glass with a narrow bowl and a tapered rim. This type of glass helps to concentrate the wine’s aromas and directs them toward your nose, allowing for a more enjoyable tasting experience.


Pinot Grigio is generally not decanted, as it is meant to be enjoyed in its youthful and vibrant state. However, if you have a more complex or aged Pinot Grigio, a brief decanting of 10-15 minutes can help open up the wine and reveal its full potential.

Aging Potential

Pinot Grigio is best enjoyed young to appreciate its fresh and lively characteristics. Unlike some other white wines, Pinot Grigio is not typically intended for long-term aging and is meant to be enjoyed within a year or two of its vintage.

Pinot Grigio Food Pairing Suggestions


Pinot Grigio’s vibrant, light-bodied profile makes it an excellent companion for a variety of lighter dishes, or even as a cocktail wine (no food needed!). Its crisp acidity and delicate flavors complement a range foods. Here are some food pairing suggestions get you started with Pinot Grigio

Quick Tips: Pinot Grigio Food Pairing

  • Light seafood dishes, such as grilled shrimp or seafood salads
  • Fresh salads with vinaigrette dressings
  • Light and creamy pasta dishes, like linguine with lemon and herbs
  • Soft and mild cheeses, such as fresh mozzarella or goat cheese

Helpful Tip: Here’s a quick guide to food and wine pairing to get you pairing like a pro every time.

Pinot Grigio vs. Other Varietals

While Pinot Grigio shares its genetic origin with the red grape Pinot Noir, it has its own distinct character. Compared to fuller-bodied white wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio offers a lighter and crisper style. It stands apart from other white varietals with its delicate flavors, vibrant acidity, and easy-drinking profile.

ChardonnayPinot Grigio
AcidityVariable acidityHigher acidity
BodyMedium to full bodyLight to medium body
FlavorsVaried fruit profiles, oak influences possibleCrisp, citrus, green apple
Oak AgingCommonly used, can contribute to vanilla, butter, and spice notesRarely aged in oak, emphasis on fruit freshness
MouthfeelRound, smoothLight, refreshing
Notable RegionsBurgundy, California, AustraliaItaly, Alsace, Oregon
Food PairingGrilled seafood, poultry, creamy saucesLight seafood, salads, vegetarian dishes

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

Sustainable Practices in Pinot Grigio Vineyards

pinot grigio guide - vineyard

In today’s wine industry, sustainable viticulture is gaining increasing importance. Many Pinot Grigio vineyard growers in Oregon are adopting organic and biodynamic farming practices to minimize chemical usage and promote environmental well-being.

Fun Wine Fact: Pinot Gris is the #1 white wine grape in Oregon. Who knew?!?

Notable Pinot Grigio Producers and Bottles to Try

When exploring Pinot Grigio, seek out producers known for their expertise in crafting exceptional bottles. Here are a few notable wineries to consider:

  • Jermann (Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy): Jermann is renowned for its high-quality and complex Pinot Grigio wines that showcase the region’s unique terroir.
  • Trimbach (Alsace, France): Trimbach produces outstanding Pinot Gris wines with richness, depth, and remarkable aging potential.
  • King Estate (Oregon, United States): King Estate is celebrated for its elegant and expressive Pinot Gris wines that reflect the terroir of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

These wineries offer a range of Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris wines, each with its own distinctive style and regional expression.

As the world of wine continues to evolve, Pinot Grigio is not exempt from the wave of innovation. Winemakers are exploring new techniques and styles to push the boundaries and showcase the grape’s versatility. From skin-contact Pinot Grigio, which gains more color and texture from extended contact with grape skins, to oak-aged expressions that add complexity, these innovations are shaping the future of Pinot Grigio and introducing exciting new dimensions to its flavor profile.

Fun Wine Fact: Pinot Grigio is a classic white grape used in amber wines. Go explore amber wines here.

Final Thoughts – Pinot Grigio as Your Go-To Friendly White Wine

With its delicate flavors, vibrant acidity, and refreshing nature, Pinot Grigio is a white wine varietal that should be on every wine lover’s go-to list. 

Here are three key takeaways to remember:

  1. Delicate Flavor Profile: Pinot Grigio offers flavors of crisp green apple, citrus fruits, and subtle floral notes. Its light-bodied nature and bright acidity make Pinot Grigio a great choice for those who want an easy-drinking wine.
  2. Food-Friendly: Pinot Grigio pairs well with a variety of dishes, including seafood, salads, light pasta dishes, and mild cheeses. 
  3. Regional Diversity: Pinot Grigio exhibits diverse expressions across different regions, from the crisp and mineral-driven styles of Italy to the richer and more aromatic examples from Alsace. You’ll want to try Pinot Grigio wines from different producers and different regions to see what you like best.

Thirsty for More?

Finding and buying great wines can be a little challenging at first. Go explore this post: How to Read a Wine Label.

If you’re just getting started with wine, the best way to get into wine is to taste more wines. It helps if you’re tasting with others. Here’s how to host your own DIY wine tasting for beginners.

And as you’re trying new wines, here’s a 6-step quick guide on how you can taste unfamiliar wines.

Go check out this post on how to find affordable wines for beginners with tips to save you money (I put this together just for you if you’re getting started.)

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