Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Gris vs Pinot Blanc

Ever looked at a bottle of Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc and thought, what is the difference? These wines all have Pinot in them, and Grigio and Gris seem very similar.

You’re not alone! In fact, these wines are very similar, and for Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris, the difference comes down to the style of the wine because they’re actually made from the same grape varietal. Pinot Blanc, has the Pinot, but is a totally different grape.

Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio

So, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are actually made from the same grape varietal.

The grape originated in France from the Burgundian Pinot family and is grown the most in Alsace, France. It’s not quite a red or white grape. It’s actually pink-ish gray in color, which is where ‘gris’ comes from (it means gray in French).

Across the border in Italy, the grape is called ‘grigio’ because grigio means gray in Italian. Gray in different languages aside, the grape is the same, but the wines are very different.

The French Pinot Gris is more full-bodied and spicier with great cellar and aging potential. Pinot Gris wine will have notes of ultra-ripe apricots, honey, orange peel, and the occasional whiff of honeysuckle.

Its Italian counterpart, Pinot Grigio is usually light-bodied, crisp, and fresh with notes of apple, citrus zest, peach, and sometimes even bitter almonds.

Both Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio wines are grown throughout wine regions all across the world. Pinot Gris is cultivated in Germany, Austria, South Africa, and Oregon in the United States. While, Pinot Grigio is cultivated mostly in Northeastern Italy, but is also grown in the United States and Australia. Italy exports a lot of Pinot Grigio to the UK and USA every year.

Now that we understand the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio let’s move on to Pinot Blanc.

What’s the deal with Pinot Blanc?

Pinot Blanc is often associated with Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio because they’ve all got the Pinot thing going on. And that’s not totally incorrect. Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Grigio are all mutations of pinot noir, after all.

Think of Pinot Blanc as the mid-point between Pinot Gris’ heady opulence and Pinot Grigo’s ultra-refreshing crispness.

Pinot Blanc also has an Italian counterpart called Pinot Bianco, which is often blended with Chardonnay and used to make sparkling wine or Champagne. It’s a versatile white wine with a lot of range and tends toward apple and sometimes smoky flavors depending on how it was made. Like Chardonnay, when oaked, it will take on a creamy, oaky feel in the mouth.

What Pairs with What?

You really can’t go wrong with any of these wines, but here are some foods they pair well with.

Pairing Pinot Grigio

Having seafood? Pinot Grigio is the wine you want to drink with it then because Pinot Grigio pairs well with grilled shrimp, mussels, oysters, and clams. Reach for a bottle of Pinot Grigio when you’re having a salad, light appetizer, or fresh vegetables as well.

Pairing Pinot Gris

Because Pinot Gris is more full-bodied, it pairs well with more savory dishes and cream sauces like duck, chicken, pork, or fish. If you don’t eat meat or you’re just planning your vegetables on the side, Pinot Gris will complement grilled veggies like zucchini or brussel sprouts. Pinot Gris style wines also pair well with hearty cheeses.

Pinot Blanc

Pinot Blanc pairs well with many foods and can even be harvested late and turned into a dessert wine. Reach for a bottle of Pinot Blanc when you’re having roasted chicken, citrusy salad dressings, mild cheeses, seafood, and pasta that’s acidic or tossed in a creamy sauce.