Many amateur wine critics like to argue over pinot gris vs pinot grigio, and which is the best white wine between the two. But the argument becomes less important once you know the details. Let’s find out why!
What Is Pinot Gris?
Pinot gris is the name given to a wine produced from a particular variety of white grape with a purplish-gray skin, hence “gris”, the French word for “gray”. It belongs to the broader pinot family of wine and grapes that commonly stem from the original pinot noir variety, which includes sparkling wines such as Champagne and rosé .
Originating in Burgundy, France, during the Middle Ages, pinot gris was a mutation of pinot noir, which later became popular in 18th century Germany, where it became known as Ruländer and Grauburgunder in different regions. From there on, pinot gris quickly grew in fame, and spread all over Europe, and arriving in Italy, where it became known as pinot grigio.
How To Pronounce Pinot Gris
Pinot gris is pronounced in three syllables, “pee – noh – gree”. The “s” in “gris” is silent.
The first syllable is straight-forward, as in “green pea” or the letter “P”. The second syllable is similar to the word “know” but with a more dampened “owe” sound. The third syllable begins with a certain rasping gurgle when spoken in French, which many English speakers find difficult. Therefore, it is commonly pronounced simply as the English speaker reads “gree”, as in “green” or “agree”.
In case you are also wondering, the “grigio” of pinot grigio, is pronounced in two syllables, “gree – djoh”, and not “gree – djee – oh”, as it’s commonly mispronounced.
What Does Pinot Gris Taste Like?
Pinot gris tends to come in a variety of slightly different styles and flavours. Many are comparable with other common types of dry white wine, though in general, you could say that it lies somewhere close to the fragrant full body of sauvignon blanc and the dryness of chardonnay, though usually lighter.
Typically, a pinot gris will have a medium to full body, with notes of spices, tropical fruits, and often citrus, blended to create a particularly fresh and unique taste.
Is Pinot A Dry Or Sweet Wine?
The dryness or sweetness of pinot gris, generally comes from the method in which the grapes are harvested. Riper grapes tend to be sweeter, which in turn reduces the acidic bite that aids to the dryness. Therefore, according to the style and method of the winemaker, pinot gris can range from dry, to fairly sweet, depending on how long the grapes are allowed to ripen.
Most pinot gris wines, though, are generally considered more on the dry side.
How To Drink Pinot Gris
The ideal way to serve pinot gris is considered to be at a chilled temperature, though not too chilled, or to be even more exact, around 48 degrees Fahrenheit. The best way to achieve this is to let it cool in a refrigerator for a few hours, and then to bring it out, open it, and let it breathe and warm for about 10 minutes before pouring. This enhances and brings out the flavours, as well as maintains its refreshing effect.
Of course, various parts of the world have different climates. In a hot climate, perhaps try and leave it out for 5 minutes instead.
What Food Does Pinot Gris Pair With?
Pinot gris is classically served with sea-food dishes like cod and snapper, and also shellfish, such as crab, lobster, and mussels. Some varieties, though, also go wonderfully with spiced dishes like roasts, stews, and curries, helping to bring out and enhance the aromatic spices within the meals.
What’s The Difference Between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio?
In essence, they are simply different names from different countries, given for the same thing. After all, both are made from the same grape, and in either case, the style and methods of the winemakers tend to vary wherever you go.
So “pinot gris vs pinot grigio” will therefore generally always come down to personal taste, and the style of individual winemakers, rather than being different in any great way.
Is Pinot Gris Or Pinot Grigio Sweeter?
Despite being essentially the same though, pinot grigio is generally known around the world, at least in terms of what is exported globally, as being somewhat drier and more acidic than pinot gris. Pinot grigio has proven to be popular in countries like the US for this reason, which likely also created the notion that the Italian variety is so different to the French.
Otherwise, as mentioned, both varieties have sweeter and more dry, acidic, varieties, according to their winemakers and their methods of harvesting.
What’s The Difference Between Pinot Gris And Chardonnay?
The main difference when it comes to pinot gris and chardonnay is “the body”. Chardonnay wines are made to have a dry, bold and full-bodied palate. Pinot gris, on the other hand, though also, most often, dry, is generally lighter in body, with a more zesty, refreshing taste.
The difference is also in the combination and use of the ingredients to produced the subtle notes in each, such as the spices, fruits, and so on. Chardonnay, for instance, is more commonly associated with fruits such as apple, starfruit, pineapple and lemon, while pinot gris, while also using many such fruits, is mostly associated more with citrus and pear.
Chardonnay also often has a unique creamy vanilla taste that can come about from its ageing process while stored in Oak barrels.
Find Your Favourite Fruit Of The Vine
To truly know which wine most suits you, and your palate, though, at the end of the day, the best thing to do is simply to go and get a bottle of each and gauge for yourself.
Keep in mind though, your palate can change throughout the day, influenced by factors such as hydration, what has previously been in your mouth, and what you’re currently eating, and even your preconceptions may play a part.
So, to be fair, as the saying goes, don’t knock it until you try it.
Born amidst the rolling vineyards of Napa Valley, Chloe’s love for wine was instilled from a young age. This passion led her to the picturesque wine regions of France, where she immersed herself in the rich wine culture and traditions.
Chloe’s dedication to the craft culminated in her becoming a wine sommelier, a testament to her deep knowledge and appreciation for wines.
Jump To a Section Below
- What Is Pinot Gris?
- How To Pronounce Pinot Gris
- What Does Pinot Gris Taste Like?
- Is Pinot A Dry Or Sweet Wine?
- How To Drink Pinot Gris
- What Food Does Pinot Gris Pair With?
- What’s The Difference Between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio?
- Is Pinot Gris Or Pinot Grigio Sweeter?
- What’s The Difference Between Pinot Gris And Chardonnay?
- Find Your Favourite Fruit Of The Vine