Viognier vs Pinot Grigio

Characteristics Viognier Pinot Grigio
Hue Pale to medium lemon Pale Lemon
Color White to golden White
Aromas Apricot, peach, floral Citrus, green apple, pear
Sweetness Dry Mostly dry
Acid Moderate High
Alcohol (%) 12-14% 12-13.5%
Body Medium Light
Intensity Pronounced Medium
Key Growing Regions Rhône Valley, California, Australia Italy, California, Oregon
Classic Pairings Seafood, spicy dishes, Asian cuisine Seafood, light salads, chicken
Price Range $15-$40 $10-$25

Most wine drinkers have heard of Pinot Grigio, but Viognier isn’t as well known. Here are the basics of what you need to know about Viognier vs Pinot Grigio.

Pinot Grigio is lighter with higher acid than Viognier. Viognier is more aromatic and fuller bodied than Pinot Grigio. Viognier is less common and tends to be more expensive than Pinot Grigio.

Pinot Grigio Basics: Italy’s White Wine

viognier 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.

Viognier Basics: Perfumed Heaven

pinot grigio vs viognier - viognier wine infographic

Viognier, known for its aromatic richness, originates from France. With a distinct character, Viognier often showcases a fuller body, heightened by a bouquet of floral notes. Its flavor profile includes lush stone fruit, apricots, making it a standout in the white wine spectrum.

Wine Comparison: Pinot Grigio vs. Viognier

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


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: While maintaining crispness, Pinot Grigio tends to have milder acidity compared to Viognier.
  • 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.

Viognier Wine Profile

Sweetness: Viognier wines lean toward off-dry to sweet styles, offering a range of sweetness.
Alcohol: Viognier wines typically share a moderate alcohol content similar to Pinot Grigio, ranging from around 11% to 13% ABV.
Body: Viognier is known for its fuller body, providing a rich and indulgent palate experience.
Acid: Viognier has lower acid than Pinot Grigio, making it seem fuller bodied and more opulent in your mouth.
Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Viognier boasts an aromatic richness with pronounced floral notes and lush stone fruit flavors.
Flavors: The profile often includes apricot, peach, and floral undertones.

Are Pinot Grigio and Viognier Similar?

Pinot Grigio and Viognier tend to be made into single varietal wines and aren’t traditionally blended with other white wine grapes during the winemaking process.

What Is the Difference Between Pinot Grigio and Viognier?

Viognier tends to have a fuller body compared to Pinot Grigio’s light to medium body. Viognier often exhibits lush stone fruit flavors and a floral bouquet, while Pinot Grigio leans towards delicate citrus and stone fruit notes.

Pinot Grigio vs. Viognier Winemaking

Both Pinot Grigio and Viognier 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, such as barrel fermentation and extended skin contact, leading to innovative expressions of both wines. If you come across Pinot Grigio or Viognier wines crafted through experimental methods, don’t hesitate to explore!

Pinot Grigio vs. Viognier: Food Pairings and Serving Temperature

viognier vs pinot grigio - 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. Viognier, with its fuller body and aromatic richness, pairs exceptionally well with richer dishes, creamy sauces, and even spicier fare.

Helpful Tip: Both wines will work with fresh salads if you’re doing a Viognier and Pinot Grigio tasting.

Both Pinot Grigio and Viognier are best enjoyed chilled. You shouldn’t need to decant either Viognier or Pinot Grigio. For Viognier, consider removing 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. Viognier?

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.

Viognier Cost

Entry-level Viognier wines are often reasonably priced, falling between $12 to $18 per bottle. These selections deliver a decent Viognier experience without straining your budget. Premium Viognier wines can be found in the range of $20 to $40+.These bottles promise a nuanced and sophisticated exploration of Viognier’s diverse flavor profile.

Helpful Wine Buying Tip: Less expensive Viognier will come from South Africa and Australia. Premium Viognier will come from France.

Which Is Better: Pinot Grigio or Viognier?

If you prefer a light and easy-drinking white wine, Pinot Grigio is better. For those who appreciate a fuller and more aromatic experience, Viognier is better. If you’re on a budget, Pinot Grigio offers a more economical option.

Final Thoughts – Viognier vs Pinot Grigio

I love both of these white wines, but tend to be more of a Viognier fangirl. I like that Viognier is aromatic and layered. Pinot Grigio is a summer sipping wine that doesn’t demand your attention. But, this is about you and what you love. To figure out the differences between the two, host a side-by-side tasting.

Grab two bottles of similarly priced Viognier 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.

Check out these key wine regions and their signature grapes if you’re just getting started with wine.

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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