Pinot Grigio is one of the lighter white wines available. It’s slightly citrusy, with hints of apple, pear and flowers. It’s also low in alcohol, crisp, and clean.
Avoid paying too much for this wine. Most Pinot Grigio brands do not offer a lot of depth or flavour, so why pay big bucks for something refreshing and simple. While every region makes its own version of Pinot Grigio, I tend to stick to Italian producers. By no means are they the best, it’s simply more of a style that seems to be the biggest crowd-pleaser. You may also see Pinot Grigio referred to as Pinot Gris. They are the same grape, and the same wine, Pinot Gris is just produced in different regions like Oregon and France. (and in Germany the grape is referred to as Grauburgunder)
Pinot Grigio from Italy tends to be dryer, acidic and crisp. While Pinot Gris from France offers more fruit flavours like peach, melon and lemon zest. Meanwhile a Pinot Grigio from California tends to have less acidity from Italy, and bolder peach, melon, and lemony flavours than a France Pinot Gris.
When to drink Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio is a good starter wine before dinner. Much like a ‘light beer’, Pinot Grigio is relatively neutral, and effective at putting you in the mood to dine. It’s an elegant wine for lighthearted times.
Salad and Pinot Grigio
Enjoy Pinot Grigio with simple Salads. As Pinot Grigio is rather neutral, it will pair well with down to earth foods like garden salads or summer salads.
Pinot Grigio & Seafood
Simply prepared seafood dishes, and lighter fish dishes go great with Pinot Grigio. The flavours of this wine are rather delicate, so you want to pair Pinot Grigio up with lighter and less ‘fishy’ fish such as Halibut, Pickerel, Sole, or Trout. This wine is also fantastic with shellfish like scallops provided they are not in heavier sauces. Our favourite shellfish pairing with Pinot Grigio would be Linguine in a clam sauce.
Pinot Grigio is perfect for gatherings amongst friends or family during the summer months. I always keep a few bottles of Pinot Grigio chilling in my fridge for those impromptu gatherings on the patio. Sipping on a glass of Pinot Grigio while snacking and chatting in the evening sun, really hits the spot.
Most people aren’t going to care what white wine they drink at a gathering as long as it’s cold, and has a pleasant flavour. Pinot Grigio falls precisely into this category. While it won’t persuade anyone that it’s the best wine they’ve ever had, it won’t offend anyone either.
Pinot Grigio is perfect for making ‘Spritzers’. A spritzer is half soda water, half white wine, a few ice cubes and a squeeze of lemon. It’s a splendid beverage for people who don’t want to consume too much alcohol or who just want a light drink on a lazy afternoon.
Holiday Dinners & White Wine Pairing
Looking for the perfect wine to bring to an Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? Pinot Grigio is your gal. Because Pinot Grigio is so light, crisp and fruity, it’s a crowd pleaser. Pinot Grigio doesn’t have strong flavours to turn people new to wine away from it, nor will the wine overpower any lighter dishes that accompany your Holiday dinner, such as coleslaw, caesar salad or shrimp. While Pinot Grigio won’t stand up to roast beef, most white wines would be crushed regardless. Ham and Turkey, on the other hand, will get along perfectly with this crisp white wine.
Common Flavours of Pinot Grigio:
Lemon, Lime, Melon, Pear, Honeysuckle, Stone, Lemongrass, Green Apple, Pear, Pineapple, Peach, Flint, Honey
Notable Producers of Pinot Grigio:
Pinot Grigio Goes Great With:
While we downplayed Pinot Grigio at the start of this blog, we still love this white wine. While it’s not as flirtatious as a Chardonnay, or zesty as a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio is always dependent and versatile. This is an acidic wine that will cut through the fat of neutral meats, and won’t clash with most sauces, dressings, condiments or side dishes.
- Cauliflower Soup
- Clam Chowder with a clear broth
- Ethiopian Cuisine
- Fried Chicken
- Garlic Bread
- Greek Salad
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Mushroom Risotto
- Pasta Primavera
- Creole Chicken/Seafood Jambalaya
- Sea Bass
- Smoked Salmon
- Spaghetti alle Vongole
- Vegetarian Cuisine (like vegetarian stir fry)
Our Top Five Pinot Grigio and Food Pairings
Baked Clams and Italian Pinot Grigio
Since Pinot Grigio is a light wine with no oak, it marries well with the lemon and garlicky elements that tend to accompany baked clams.
Dry, crisp and with notes of minerality, an Italian Pinot Grigio (from Trentino-Alto, Veneto or Lombardy), or an Okanagan Pinot Grigio is excellent with raw clams. The mineral flavours in the wine complement the fresh from the sea flavours in the clams.
Sushi and Pinot Gris
There’s a lot of variety with sushi, from Tempura, Dragon Roll, California Roll, and Uni, there are so many flavours. Pinot Grigio makes a good middle of the road wine pairing as it shouldn’t clash with any of the sushi items.
We love a Fruity and Dry Pinot Gris from California, Oregon or Chile. With these wines, you get a little more lemon zest and peach flavours which elevate the Sushi Wine Pairing.
Antipasto and Pinot Grigio Pairing
A fruity Pinot Grigio has enough acidity to cut through the fattiness of the olives, pickled vegetables marinating in olive oil, cheeses, and cured meats like prosciutto. The peach, melon and apple flavours of the wine elevate the meat flavours, and the crisp acidity will wash away the fat from your cheeks.
Fish and Chips paired with Pinot Grigio
We’d suggest a fruity but dry Pinot Grigio to pair with Fish and Chips. The citrus notes elevate the subtle fish flavours, while the crisp acidity cuts through the deep-fried goodness of the battered fish and chips. Pinot Grigio is a wine that is meant for everyday foods, and pairing it with Fish and Chips showcases the power of this subtle wine.
Pinot Gris and Hot Dogs
From mustard, relish, mayo, onions, shredded cheese, jalapeno peppers, sriracha, ketchup, and onward, there’s a lot of options to select when it comes to Hot Dog toppings. That’s why we feel a fruity Pinot Gris makes a good match as the wine will not clash with any toppings you choose. Pinot Gris is a little more full-bodied than a Pinot Grigio but still acidic. Thus, it will wash away any heavy and fatty flavours with each sip. Pinot Gris also tames the heat of the jalapenos or sriracha and makes the saltiness of your hot dog vanish.
If your hot dog is slightly sweet from ketchup, or onions, try pairing it with a Grauburgunder. Grauburgunder is a German-style of Pinot Grigio, and while it is dry with notes of honeycomb, lemon and peach, it is also slightly sweet (in some cases). This sweetness complements the sweet notes of your hot dog toppings, while the acidity cleanses your palate. Grauburgunder requires a visit to a wine specialty shop as this version of Pinot Grigio is difficult to find outside of Germany.