Pinot grigio is a white wine produced from the Vitis vinifera grape species. Known to be a copy of the Pinot noir variety, which produces our classic red wine, it is considered a grey member of the pinot family, named due to the grayish-purple grape that produces its refreshing taste.
However, this grape can also sometimes have a brownish pink to black or even a white appearance too.
These grapes tend to grow in clusters shaped like small pine cones and the wine produced from them can also come in a variety of colors, from a rich golden yellow to copper, to baby pink. It is additionally one of the most popular grapes for skin-contact wine.
The grape can make a wide selection of wine, depending on the style and where you are in the world. For example, it can produce a beautiful tasting, full-bodied Alsace or a lighter, crisper wine full of sweet citrus aromas.
Though commonly believed to be only from Italy, the grape, although grown significantly in the North East regions, actually comes from France, where it’s commonly known as Pinot Gris.
However, despite how Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same grape, they are produced slightly differently. Pinot Grigio represents that dry, crisp, widely known Italian style of wine, whereas Pinot Gris, the French (Alsace) style is the richer style.
While both are as popular as each other, Pinot Grigio tends to be the one everybody knows and loves, consumed over dinner dates, at Italian bars, or on a Friday evening after a long week at work.
What Does It Taste Like?
If we had to pin the taste of Pinot Grigio down, it would be delicious. But we know you’re after something more detailed. To put it simply, it’s crisp and refreshing, but also dry and tangy.
To compare that with some common fruits, it’s always referred to as a citrus wine, commonly placed alongside the taste of apples, white peaches, and pears.
There’s a touch of perfume and light spice which makes for easy drinking and you may sometimes even get a hint of grapefruit, or honeysuckle.
Though easy to drink, you’re never going to miss out on the flavor with the Italian Pinot Grigio. It’s usually light to medium in body and best drunk fresh as it still has that tangy acidity retained from the early picking of grapes. Another Italian wine that tastes similar to Pinot Grigio is Vermentino.
The grapes used to make Pinot Gris however, are usually left on the vine to ripen fully, resulting in that richer taste that is fuller in body and can reach that beautiful golden color.
How To Serve Pinot Grigio
Now a wine would not be the same if it was served incorrectly. It’s always best to serve this wine in around two years within its vintage to ensure that crisp, refreshing, and punchy taste is not altered.
It’s also best served chilled, so if you know you’re going to be opening the bottle in the next few days, think about keeping it in the refrigerator, especially if you’re having guests around and want to impress them with your fancy chilled wine glasses paired with a delicious home-cooked meal.
If you forget to refrigerate though, don’t panic! Chill it over ice for a similar effect. When the time comes to actually serve, however, you want the temperature to be around 48 degrees Fahrenheit, which is warmer than most refrigerators in an average household.
To bring it to this temperature, simply remove the wine from the fridge around an hour before serving.
As far as what to cook for that meal, the possibilities are endless. Seafood is most commonly paired with Pinot Grigio, which compliments the refreshing taste and mixes with the tastebuds delightfully. Pinot Grigio is also a fantastic white wine for cooking with.
Sushi, Ceviche, and shellfish are popular but not to worry if these don’t tickle your fancy. The versatile wine also pairs well with chicken in a creamy sauce or a light pasta dish.
If you want to spice up your cooking, rosemary, garlic, ginger, cracked white and black pepper, and thyme all complement the wine and can be used generously whilst cooking.
Known as a summer wine, Pinot Grigio is often taken on picnics in the park, to outdoor events, or even served up after work in the garden on a June afternoon. If you’re eating al fresco, try serving a glass of Pinot Grigio with a light summer salad.
A salad with pears and berries for example, or chickpea and avocado if you’re looking for something richer.
Our main tip would to be avoid serving it up with foods that have a lot of tomato sauce or hold citrus flavors as the acidity will clash, and you’ll only be wanting water to wash it down instead of popping open that second bottle.
What To Look For When Buying
There are many brands of Pinot Grigio wine and we’re here just to name a few. We’ve compiled a list of a few of our favorites with links to purchase for your convenience.
Finding your favorite wine is a fun but sometimes long process. Don’t be afraid to push the boat out and try something new or slightly more expensive. Sometimes it’s worth it.
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Santa Margarita – Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, 750 ml At Amazon’s Wine Store
In 1960, the winemaker for Santa Margherita was inspired by certain sparkling wine vinification techniques to ferment this wine without any skin contact.
Driven to capture the fruity, floral tastes of Pinot Grigio, he realized that steering away from the “Ramato” method ensured these aromas and flavors could be preserved.
It also has a unique design on its label of a traditional Italian villa and is commonly served in high-class restaurants or wine bars.
Ruffino Lumina- Ruffino Lumina DOC Pinot Grigio, Italian White Wine, 750 mL bottle At Amazon’s Wine Store
This wine is slightly more on the inexpensive side but as it is made with grapes sourced from Delle Venezie, famous regions in northeastern Italy, it still offers that delightful floral crisp golden apple and pear flavor.
It’s medium-bodied but with punchy acidity and light minerality. Perfect served with chicken or a pasta dish.
Spirito d’Italia- Spirito d’Italia Pinot Grigio, 750 ml At Amazon’s Wine Store
If you want something that is authentically Italian, this wine is for you. Spirito d’Italia embraces true Italian taste ready for a fancy picnic in the piazza or a grand dinner.
Truly bursting with convivial flavors, this floral Pinot Grigio promises a traditional light Italian taste and is perfectly paired with seafood on a summer’s day.
Pinot Grigio is a food-friendly wine, perfect for every occasion.
Whether you want that crisp, refreshing taste of Italian wine paired deliciously with fish, white meat, or even a selection of cheeses, or you want the richer, full-bodied Pinot Gris to pair with creamier, smokier meat dishes, there’s a bottle for everyone.
Remember, step outside your comfort zone, try a few different brands, try it with a few different food pairings, really take the possibilities of Pinot Grigio, and run with them.
It’s no wonder it’s such a popular wine, and its popularity is only growing. So be part of the Pinot revolution! Grab a bottle from the fridge and sit out your garden with your sunhat and your book and take in the beautiful floral aromas and citrus taste.
You won’t look back!