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Dueling Pinots: Grigio vs Gris vs Noir

Dueling Pinots: Grigio vs Gris vs Noir

Let us introduce you to the Pinot Family!

If you’re a wine drinker from the United States, you’re probably already familiar with Pinot Grigio. And why wouldn’t you be? It’s a delicious go-to wine for a hot summer day! It also happens to be the second most popular white varietal in the US. You could say that Pinot Grigio is one of those fun wines that can get along with just about anyone.

For those of you who like to browse the wine aisles in the store or the wine menu at a restaurant, you’ve probably also noticed wines with similar titles, namely Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. What’s the difference between these three wines? Are they even similar at all? Today, we’re going to find out! Let’s learn a thing or two about all of the wines in the Pinot family.

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

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are both refreshing crowd favorites, but what’s the difference between these white wines? OK, you got us — that’s a trick question. There’s not much of a difference at all. Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same varietal of grape with different names. They might also go by other aliases such as Auvergne Gris, Baratszinszoeloe, Fromentot, and Spinovy Hrozen. Although they are the same grape, there are subtle differences between this varietal’s two most popular options. 

Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio

Origin

Pinot Gris originated in France in the world-renowned wine region of Burgundy, making it a traditional Old World wine. It is thought to be a mutation of the Pinot Noir grape, also prevalent in Burgundy. Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio both translate to “gray pinot,” which refers to the grape’s unique gray-blue hue. This is quite unlike most white varietals, whose grapes typically have green skin.

When it comes to location, Pinot Gris isn’t a grape to be tied down in one country. We love that traveling spirit! When the varietal eventually found its way to Italy, it was called Pinot Grigio, and it thrived in Lombardy, the Veneto, Fruili, Trentino, and Alto Adige regions. 

Origins of Pinot Gris/Grigio

Flavor and Aroma

On the whole, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris have similar flavor profiles. This varietal can be somewhat tricky to pinpoint in a blind taste test, as it doesn’t have very distinct flavors like other white wines such as Chardonnay or Moscato. Pinot Grigio is a bit of a chameleon and takes on the terroir in its flavor, reflecting the characteristics of the soil in which it’s grown. For example, Pinot Grigio from Italy typically has a brighter, more acidic flavor with aromas of lime and green apple. Pinot Gris from France tends to be fuller-bodied with higher alcohol content and notes of peach and apricot. The flavor differences are due to the distinctions in climate, soil, and elevation in these two regions of the world. 

Flavor & Aroma of Pinot Gris/Grigio

Pinot Noir

So, how does Pinot Noir play into the saga of the Pinot family? Well, as we have already discussed, Pinot Grigio is a lighter mutation of Pinot Noir. In a way, you could say that Pinot Noir is the Matriarch of this world-famous wine family. Pinot Noir is also thought to have originated in the Burgundy region of France, which is fitting because it is one of the main varietals used for Burgundy wine. It’s also a more food-friendly wine than other reds, thanks to its lighter body and medium-high acidity. 

Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Noir

Food Pairings

When you find a tasty wine and food pairing, it’s a match made in culinary heaven. Let’s create some food fantasies and talk about the perfect pairings for Pinots. 

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio tends to be lighter and more acidic, allowing it to pair beautifully with salads, veggies, shellfish, flakey white fish, lemon pepper chicken, fruit salad, and other light dishes. 

Food Pairings for Pinot Grigio

Pinot Gris

Since Pinot Gris typically has a fuller body and higher alcohol content, it can stand toe-to-toe with heartier dishes. Pair it with a creamy soup such as she-crab soup or New England clam chowder, or try it with main dishes like salmon, roast chicken, or pork. 

Food Pairings for Pinot Gris

Pinot Noir

For a red, Pinot Noir is a surprisingly food-friendly wine. Thanks to its relatively light body, it pairs well with a wide range of foods, including goat cheese, salmon, duck, roast chicken, pulled pork, and white pizza. 

Food Pairings for Pinot Noir

Pinot Tasting Notes

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is a zippy, acidic wine that is delightfully refreshing. When you sip a glass of it, you’ll likely pick up notes of lime, white peach, lemon, and green apple. 

Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris is a fuller-bodied white with low acidity and a friendly, rounded mouthfeel. Typically, it will have fruity notes of peach, apricot, honeysuckle, clove, and ginger

Pinot Noir

As the black sheep — or red, in this case —  of the Pinot bunch, Pinot Noir is markedly more distinct than its Gris and Grigio counterparts. Pinot Noir is a light-bodied red with a striking ruby red color. It has fruit-forward aromas with mild, earthy notes

If you’re like us, all this talk about Pinots makes you want to pick up a bottle or two. That’s a fabulous idea! Whether you decide to sip and savor the terroir-inspired crispness of a Pinot Gris or Grigio or enjoy the pleasant earthiness of a Pinot Noir, we promise that you can’t go wrong!

Dueling Pinots: Grigio vs Gris vs Noit

Rosé of Sangiovese

Andiamo

Sangiovese can be found in both the Chianti and Montalcino regions of Tuscany (it all sounds so romantic, right?) and is known for producing classic medium-bodied wines. Rosé wine is actually made from red grapes, and this is where the Rosé of Sangiovese comes to play. Crisp, fruit-forward, and easy-to-drink, it's everything you want in your bottle of Rosé and more.

$19.99

Montepulciano

Andiamo

Big, bold, and full of flavor—exactly what you’d expect an Italian wine to be! This classic Italian grape produces some of Italy’s most straightforward red wines and is often used as a blending grape. Not here, though. We let Montepulciano do the heavy lifting as a heavy red wine and shine on its own. If you enjoy the smell of leather bound books, nibbling on dried fruit, and complementary notes of bitter, dark chocolate and sweet plums, you will love this Italian wine. No need to pair it with any certain dish—Montepulciano tastes great with all the Italian classics.

$20.99

Pinot Grigio

La Pluma

If you’re looking for more zest in your life, a bottle of Pinot Grigio can provide that. We included a classic Pinot Grigio in the La Pluma collection because we’re all about light and easy here, which is exactly what this grape from Italy is. It has that dry sense of humor that seems so effortless with a punchy acidity to keep you on your toes, all while offering notes of lemon, limes, green apples, and honeysuckle. Long story short; when it’s been a heavy day and your soul is seeking light things only, you’ll be happy to have this bottle on hand.

$19.99

Pinot Noir

Unprecedented

We couldn’t create the In Good Taste Unprecedented collection without the Golden Retriever of wines: Pinot Noir. Pinot is likable, it’s easy, and its natural state of being is simply charming. It’s an incredibly easy red wine to love, which is why so many people do. The grape itself is from the Burgundy region of France, but has made its way to California, Oregon, Australia, Italy, Argentina, and Germany since. Our Pinot Noir has no surprise twists—it’s a classic light red with just the right amount of sweetness to keep you coming back for another glass (or two).

$25.99

Coteaux Bourguignons

Passport

The Burgundy region of France is home to their best Pinot Noirs, but we took the grapes into our own hands to create something extra special with our Coteaux Bourguignons. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, which results in a French red that’s light in body but full in flavor. The ripest blueberries and freshest herbs can be easily detected in this French burgundy blend. May we suggest pairing it with some creamy brie and freshly baked bread? It’s a oui-ning combo.

$25.99

Verdicchio

Andiamo

A little sweet. A little tart. A little salty? You truly get it all with this white Italian wine. If you're into that biting acidity, Verdicchio will probably be high on your list of most-loved wines from our Andiamo collection. Citrus fruits like mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit are at the forefront, but what really sets this Italian wine apart is its distinct notes of almond. While our Verdicchio can start out tasting a bit tart, the more you sip, the smoother it becomes. In fact, we suggest approaching it as an aperitif (Italian for an alcoholic drink sipped before a meal to stimulate the appetite) to experience its full effect.

$23.99

Côtes du Rhône White

Passport

This was one of our first French wines to join the Passport collection and one sip will explain why. Some background on the Rhône Valley in France: While this region is known for its dark, juicy reds, a very small amount of special white wines are made in the Rhône Valley. Our Côtes du Rhône is packed with French-perfected, floral flavor and Old-World charm. Its natural tang paired with the weighty Marsanne grape and aromatic Roussanne grape results in a crisp, savory sip that’ll transport you to a sunbathing chair by the Rhône itself.

$23.99

Bordeaux Rouge

Passport

When you picture medieval folk sitting around a feast with goblets of wine, chances are they were drinking Bordeaux. This wine has been made in France since forever and is arguably the most classic French wine out there. Bordeaux is known for its full body, smoky notes, and rich, oaky taste. If you love cabs, chances are you will adore Bordeaux. For our Passport wines, we had to include this classic French red for you to sip and enjoy to your heart’s content. Best savored over a rich meal like lamb ragu, ratatouille, or BBQ.

$21.99

Ventoux Rosé

Passport

You probably know that the Tour de France is held on Ventoux Mountain in France, but did you know that the same area is known for its high-altitude rosé? This is the kind of quintessential French rosé that you don’t need to spin your wheels over—it’s simply delicious, crisp, and perfect for warm weather. Despite its delicate, pale pink color, each sip is lush with flavor, from tropical passionfruit and zesty citrus to refreshing melon. This has the potential to be your new summer go-to, so we’d suggest stocking up.

$21.99

Grenache

La Pluma

We knew the only red in the La Pluma collection had to be exceptionally good and exceptionally light. That’s why including a Grenache was a no-brainer. If smooth, fruit-forward, light-bodied reds appeal to your tastebuds, this could be your new favorite. The grape itself is tricky; depending on the climate of where its grown, Grenache wines could be light, dense, or somewhere in the middle. La Pluma’s version has all the airiness and flavor notes we wanted in our Grenache, which is how we know you’ll love it. Get the most of this red by pairing it with roasted meats, spice-heavy vegetables, and Mexican-inspired dishes with lots of cumin.

$27.99

Barbera

Andiamo

We really try not to play favorites at In Good Taste, but there is just something about an Italian Barbera that hits different in the best way. Barberas are the perfect wine for pizza night; they're low in alcohol, and medium-bodied but taste super light, and their berry and plum flavors pair incredibly well with savory tomato sauce and cheese! Another fun thing about Barberas? They actually taste great when chilled, which is not something we're in the habit of suggesting for our red wines. Our Italian Barbera lies somewhere between the body of a cab and a pinot and is the ideal choice for a "ladies who lunch" kind of afternoon.

$21.99

Vermentino

Wild Child

We couldn't not have a weird white in the mix, right?! The Vermentino grape is native along the coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia (yeah, like the fish). Because of its origin, this grape offers a salty, crisp flavor that's incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. We say it's "weird" only because it's not widely known by name, but chances are you've probably had it before if you've ever ordered white wine in an Italian restaurant. If you love peaches and lemons and get a kick out of anything that reminds you of the sea, our Vermentino is the perfect Italian white to experience on a sunny day outside.

$23.99

Viognier

Unprecedented

For the Chardonnay lovers who are looking to dig a bit deeper in the world of bold whites, a Viognier (pronounced vee-own-yay) could be your next big adventure. Viogniers tend to have more range; while they can be creamy with hints of vanilla like their Chardonnay counterpart, they also offer lighter, fruitier flavors like tangerine, mango, and honeysuckle. It’s still a more full-bodied white wine, but unlike Chardonnay, it’s softer on acidity and more perfumed. Spend an afternoon with a glass of Viognier amongst the flowers and it’ll all make sense.

$24.99

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