When it comes to white wines, similar sounding names can be confusing, like Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc. What’s up with that?
Pinot Grigio is a delicate white wine with stone fruit and citrus. Pinot Blanc, in comparison, offers more complexity with stone, citrus, herbal, and almond notes. It is often lighter than Pinot Grigio, with vibrant acidity. Both wines can be enjoyed in the $15-$20 USD range, making them accessible to wine lovers everywhere.
Here’s what you need to know about the differences between Pinot Blanc and Pinot Grigio, which, confusing thought it is, are not the same grapes.
- Pinot Grigio Basics: A Versatile Italian Classic
- Pinot Blanc Basics: Crisp Elegance
- Wine Comparison: Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot Blanc
- Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot Blanc Winemaking
- Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot Blanc: Food Pairings and Serving Temperature
- Which Is More Expensive, Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot Blanc?
- Which Is Better, Pinot Grigio or Pinot Blanc?
- Final Thoughts – Pinot Blanc or Pinot Grigio?
Pinot Grigio Basics: A Versatile Italian Classic
Originating from France, Pinot Grigio has conquered the wine world with its approachable and versatile nature.
Today synonymous with Italian whites, winegrowing regions like Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia are known for Pinot Grigio, presenting a delicate flavor profile citrus stone, and tree fruits.
With a light to medium body, this wine offers a refreshing and easy-to-drink experience. (Read more about Pinot Grigio wines here.)
As the world’s leading Pinot Grigio producer, Italy offers a wide array of affordable options, perfect for casual enjoyment. For those seeking more expressive choices, many producers craft higher-end selections with more complexity. Let price be your guide.
Fun Wine Fact: Pinot Grigio goes by the name Pinot Gris in France, though both names refer to the same grape variety.
Helpful Tip: If you’re new to wine tasting, here’s a quick guide to help you navigate unfamiliar wines.
Pinot Blanc Basics: Crisp Elegance
Pinot Blanc exudes an air of crisp elegance and refinement, today grown in various regions, including Italy (where it is known as Pinot Bianco), and beyond.
This wine captivates with its vibrant acidity and refreshing citrus, tree, and stone fruit profile, along with floral herbal notes and almonds. Pinot Blanc tends to have a lighter body than Pinot Grigio, but this can vary depending on the winemaking techniques. Check out more on Pinot Blanc here.
Fun Wine Fact: Pinot Blanc has been cultivated as a wine grape since the 1300s. Talk about a grape with a little history!
Wine Comparison: Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot Blanc
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the most common styles of Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc.
Pinot Grigio Wine Profile:
- Sweetness: Pinot Grigio typically comes in a dry style, with minimal residual sugar, but they can come in off-dry styles, too.
- Alcohol: Pinot Grigio wines generally have a moderate alcohol content, ranging from around 11% to 13% ABV.
- Body: Known for its light to medium body, Pinot Grigio provides a refreshing and easy-drinking experience.
- Acid: While still crisp, Pinot Grigio tends to have milder acidity compared to Pinot Blanc.
- Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Pinot Grigio exhibits delicate flavors and aromas, with subtle floral nuances and hints of stone fruits. Like Pinot Blanc, it’s a semi-aromatic white wine.
- Flavors: The flavor profile often includes notes of pear, green apple, lemon zest, and sometimes a touch of almond or honey.
Pinot Blanc Wine Profile:
- Sweetness: Pinot Blanc leans towards dryness, with a range of dry to off-dry styles.
- Alcohol: Pinot Blanc wines typically have a moderate alcohol content, similar to Pinot Grigio, ranging from around 11% to 13% ABV.
- Body: Pinot Blanc is known for its light to medium body, but is often lighter than Pinot Grigio. In some regions, you’ll find fuller bodied styles of Pinot Blanc that come from the winemaking process. These Pinot Blanc wines are amazing!
- Acid: Pinot Blanc showcases medium + acidity, slightly more pronounced than Pinot Grigio (but probably only the most focused tasters will taste the difference, and this can depend on the vintage or region).
- Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Pinot Blanc boasts refreshing citrus notes and subtle floral undertones. It’s a semi-aromatic wine and won’t jump out the glass, but tickles your nose.
- Flavors: The flavor profile often includes citrus, stone, almond, and floral herbal notes.
Helpful Tip: If you’re unsure about serving temperatures, here’s a breakdown of wine serving temperatures for different wine styles and occasions.
Are Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc Similar?
While Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc share citrus flavors, and will have similar bodies, acidity, and alcohol level. Both wines work beautifully with light dishes and seafood, making them great wines to keep on hand.
What Is the Difference Between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc?
Pinot Blanc usually has a light to medium body, often lighter than Pinot Grigio, but this depends on winemaking techniques. Pinot Blanc’s flavor profile includes stone, citrus, almond, floral notes, while Pinot Grigio leans towards delicate stone fruit notes and milder acidity.
Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot Blanc Winemaking
Both Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc undergo protective winemaking techniques to preserve freshness and minimize oxidation. Winemakers commonly employ stainless steel and temperature-controlled fermentation. However, they also experiment with different winemaking styles, such as barrel fermentation and skin contact, resulting in innovative expressions of both wines.
If you come across Pinot Grigio or Pinot Blanc wines with experimental winemaking, grab a glass and explore!
Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot Blanc: Food Pairings and Serving Temperature
Pinot Grigio’s delicate fruit and floral character make it a versatile companion for light appetizers, white meats, and lighter vegetarian cuisine. Pinot Blanc, with its refreshing acidity and layered citrus and herbal notes, pairs exceptionally well with seafood dishes, salads, and light appetizers.
Personal Note: I love Pinot Blanc with crackers and herbed chevre cheese. And honestly, I would pair them interchangeably. But that’s just me.
Pinot Blanc and Pinot Grigio: Serving Temperature
Wine Serving Temperature for Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc
|Pinot Grigio||45-50°F (7-10°C)|
|Pinot Blanc||50-55°F (10-13°C)|
Both Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc are best enjoyed chilled. Place them in the refrigerator overnight or for a few hours before serving. For Pinot Blanc, remove the bottle from the refrigerator approximately 10-15 minutes before pouring to reach the ideal serving temperature. Pinot Grigio can be enjoyed immediately after opening.
Which Is More Expensive, Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot Blanc?
Both Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc come in at similar price points, for those who are price-sensitive.
- Entry-level Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc wines are typically priced between $10 and $20 per bottle.
- Premium selections from renowned regions can range from $25 to $40 or more for both wines, offering a more sophisticated drinking experience.
Additionally, for budget-conscious wine enthusiasts, there are extreme-value Pinot Grigio wines available at an affordable price of $5 to $10 per bottle, proving that you don’t have to compromise quality for a great deal.
Which Is Better, Pinot Grigio or Pinot Blanc?
If you enjoy a light and easy-drinking white wine, Pinot Grigio will be your go-to. However, if you savor more nuanced flavors in your white wines with vibrant acidity, Pinot Blanc is the better option.
Final Thoughts – Pinot Blanc or Pinot Grigio?
Both Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc offer delightful white wine options with their unique characteristics.
Doing a side-by-side tasting of these wines can be a great way to explore and appreciate their differences fully.
So, grab 2 bottles of similarly priced Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc, invite some friends over, and enjoy an afternoon of swirling and sipping.
Pinot Grigio’s delicate and easy-drinking nature, coupled with an affordable price point, makes it a perfect choice for everyday enjoyment. If you seek a more expressive wine with juicy citrus, and more layered flavors, then Pinot Blanc will undoubtedly delight your taste buds.
Thirsty for More?
I’m a firm believer in enhancing wine knowledge through side-by-side tastings. If you’re curious about hosting your own wine tasting for beginners, here’s how to get started.
Remember, delicious wines can be found at every price point, so don’t miss this post on how to find great wines under $50.
Lastly, if you enjoy light pink wines, give this fun post on “What is rosé?” a read!