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Pinot Noir vs Pinot Grigio: Two Of The Best From The Pinot Family Of Wines

pinot noir and grigio - featured image

Last Updated: May 10, 2024

With all the Pinot wines that exist nowadays, I must admit that I was just as confused as everyone else about what makes each of them extraordinary.

Learning more about wines can get frustrating. 

Sometimes when even the most vital information can turn out to be very complicated. We might probably think that having basic knowledge such as wine coming from grapes and containing alcohol would be enough. 

Do you also have questions like, which is better between Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot Noir, what do they look or taste like, or what food perfectly matches them? These are questions that would mostly have more than just one answer, and that’s the part where learning about these wines can be challenging.

If these are your questions too and probably more, then keep reading, and together let’s find out all about Pinot Noir vs Pinot Grigio.

Main Differences Between Pinot Noir And Pinot Grigio

So here, the difference between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir:

  • Pinot Noir has red cherry and wild strawberry flavors, whereas Pinot Grigio has notes of apple and pear with a delicately bitter finish.
  • Pinot Noir is undoubtedly more famous and accessible worldwide, whereas Pinot Grigio is not as accessible and more like an underground option.
  • Pinot Noir has low-acid content, whereas Pinot Grigio is full of mouth-watering acidity.

What You Need To Know About Pinot Noir (PEE-no nwahr)

The Origin

Gone are the days when Pinot Noir wines would contain only Pinot Noir grapes. Most of this wine nowadays would come in a blend with either Syrah or Merlot. 

Blending Pinot Noir with other varieties is a practice that most winemakers do to enhance its color since it originally has a pale color by itself. At the same time, some winemakers choose to blend it to reduce the overall production cost.

This grape variety can be challenging to grow since it is sensitive to heat and requires high maintenance. It explains the substantial price tag that often comes with Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir grape grows optimally only in specific vineyards, and it has the least chances of thriving in areas with warmer climates.


Pinot Noir is famous for its fruity aroma and flavor. Compared with other reds like Cabernet, it contains a low amount of tannin, which contributes to its smooth texture and slightly sweet taste.

The taste profile is climate-dependent, so the Pinot Noir grapes coming from a warm climate have a richer expression reminiscent of red berries, blackberries, and cherries. The grapes that came from colder climates, on the other hand, tend to have more prominent earthy aromas and flavors.

Grapes And Wine Regions

Burgundy in Eastern France is home to Pinot Noir. But it is also an essential red wine grape variety in New Zealand, Alsace, Oregon, Champagne, and Germany.

Today, its global production even widely extends to the coolest parts of Australia, Chile, and California. It also had started to make significant progress in South Africa and Canada. Pinot Noir grapes require noting less than optimal condition, a cold climate, and delicate handling to produce exceptional wines.

Perfect Food Matches

Fret not if you feel like, still have a long way to thoroughly learn the basics of how to best pair wine with food. It sometimes takes years of wine tasting before you can start doing it like a pro. 

It is vital to know more about a wine’s weight to pair it with a dish effectively. A wine’s body usually refers to its alcohol level, sweetness, and tannin.

Pinot Noir is a light-bodied wine that goes well with heavy-weighted meals. Its tannins are intense but smooth, long-lasting, and not obtrusive. Here are some foods that make a perfect pair to this wine:

  • Beef stew
  • Roast beef
  • Salmon
  • Roast turkey
  • Dark-meat poultry such as duck or quail
  • Mushroom risotto
  • Egg dishes such as frittata, omelet, and quiche

Wines Similar To Pinot Noir

If you love Pinot Noir and would like to try exploring something new, here are some other wine alternatives for you:

  • Beaujolais 
  • Chinon
  • Grenache
  • Pinotage
  • Red Burgundy
  • Rioja
  • Sangiovese
  • Tempranillo
  • Dolcetto
  • Lambrusco

How To Serve

Remember that you should serve wine with a lighter color and style when it's cold so you can retain its freshness. The best way to enjoy a glass of Pinot Noir is to serve it at 14 ° C. It helps in releasing all of the wine’s flavor to give your palates a unique experience. Unlike other wines, there’s no need for you to decant it; you may serve it straight from the bottle. 

Nutritional Facts

A Pinot Noir's alcohol content and even its flavor are dependent on the area it was grown. Those from colder regions contain 12–13.5% alcohol, while those from warmer areas have 13.5–15% alcohol content.

While a Pinot Noir is considered a dry wine, that does not mean that it doesn't come with calories. If you are concerned about your carb intake, then Pinot Noir is the best option for you.  It only has 3.4 grams of carbs and 123 calories.

Pinot Grigio

All That You Need To Know About Pinot Grigio

The Origin

Pinot Grigio is a famous Italian wine style that is fresh and zesty white. Unlike other white grapes, it comes in a greyish-blue hue, which explains their name's origin. It originates in Burgundy before it became famous in Switzerland and Northern Italy in the 1300s.


Pinot Gris is one of the grape varieties that is well known for its dark skin. It comes as a dry white wine with either a light or medium body most of the time. The best of its kind is crisp and fresh with the right amount of acid and complex fruitiness ranging from melon to green apple flavors. Some also have a delicate tropical or citrus fruit flavor.

Grapes And Wine Regions

Where you grow the wine, what season you harvest, and what production methods you use can significantly determine its characteristics. Its French style is known as the Pinot Gris, famous for being a fragrant alternative to Chardonnay. On the other hand, the Italian style is dry with minimal fruit and plenty of mineral flavors. 

The German-style is sweet and fruit-driven, while the California Pinot Grigios tend has a sweeter taste than the Italian versions, less crisp, and fruitier in flavor. Some wines have subtle accents of honey and ginger. 

Perfect Food Matches

The key to finding a wine’s perfect pair is to ensure that it matches the food and wine’s flavor and matches the dish’s weight with the wine. The more substantial the food, the fuller-bodied, and the more significant the wine should be. 

Pinot Grigio generally complements lighter dishes and pairs exceptionally well with the following:

  • Shellfish
  • Sushi
  • Mussels and oysters
  • Ceviche
  • Flaky white fish like tilapia, sea bass, and sole
  • Light pasta dishes and cheeses
  • Fresh salads like a wheat berry salad with pears
  • A crunchy, creamy salad like fennel-avocado salad
  • Smoked meats, particularly salmon
  • Grilled chicken
  • Grilled kabobs, meat or vegetarian

The pairing would sometimes involve trial and error because every dish is different in its ingredients and preparation. But for Pinot Grigio, it is best to avoid matching it with anything citrusy or tomato-based dishes.

Wines Similar To Pinot Grigio

If you love Pinot Grigio, you might as well know about its alternative like:

  • Soave
  • Fiano
  • Pecorino
  • Muscadet

How To Serve Pinot Grigio

Serve red wines cool and white wines colder but not very cold. The Pinot Grigio is best to drink when it's young, which means about two years within its vintage. All Pinot Grigio types have 48 degrees Fahrenheit as the ideal temperature. 

To chill it to this temperature, place it in the refrigerator for about two to three hours before serving. Remove the wine from the fridge at least 30 to 60 minutes before serving, or chill it over ice. You may take advantage of a wine temperature thermometer to ensure more precise measurement, and so you'll enjoy all the flavors in your Pinot Grigio.

Nutritional Facts

Alcohol is usually the first that comes to mind when we think about pursuing a healthier lifestyle. But the truth is, there are alcoholic beverages we can still enjoy less the worry of how many inches it will add to our waistline.

On average, a 5-ounce glass of Pinot Grigio has at least 3 grams of carbs with 120 calories. But keep in mind that moderation is still the key if you’re trying to stay trim and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

pinot noir and grigio - featured image

Key Differences Between Pinot Grigio And Pinot Noir

Is Pinot Grigio Sweeter Than Pinot Noir?

Yes. Between Pinot Noir Vs. Grigio, the latter’s citrus notes made it a sweeter wine than Pinot Noir.

Which Is Better -- Pinot Noir Or Grigio?

Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio are both fine wines but if your main dish for that dinner you're hosting is a seafood platter, it is best to go for Pinot Grigio. Pinot Noir also works well with seafood, but it is more spectacular when you pair it with light meat dishes.

Are Pinot Noir And Pinot Grigio The Same Grape?

These two are not entirely the same grape. I think the best way to describe it is that Pinot Grigio is more like a clone or the result of Pinot Noir’s mutation.

Key Takeaways

We all are pretty spoiled, considering the number of red wine selections worldwide. When choosing the most suitable wine for you, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all.

As previously mentioned, both of these are fine wines, and neither is superior to the other. Understanding their interesting differences will provide you with the convenience of knowing which one to choose when it's time to do some wine shopping. 

It could also mean that there's room for one more at your table.;)

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