Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Noir: Comparing Great Wine Varieties

Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Noir in wine glasses with wine grapes on table

On the surface level, Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Noir are completely different wines, despite having the word “Pinot” in front of their name. Pinot Grigio is a white wine; Pinot Noir is a red wine. 

What you might not realize, however, is that Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir are color mutations of the same grape. According to research, all Pinots are simply color mutations of Pinot Noir – which includes Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir. So if you like one, be sure to give the others in the wine family a try!

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir wine in wineglasses on table with wine grapes

Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Noir Flavor Comparisons

When it comes to Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Noir flavors, the most notable differences are the fruit notes in the wines. 

Pinot Grigio, being a white wine, tends to display more subtle fruit flavors of apple, lemon, and pear, as well as a touch of spice.

Pinot Noir, being a red wine, tends to display more savory aromas and red fruit flavors of cherry, strawberry, raspberry, and plum. 

Of course, the final wine will not only be representative of the grape variety but also of the climate where it was grown and the winemaker who crafts it. 

Cool Climate vs Warm Climate Wines

Warm climate wines will have riper, more abundant fruit flavors, such as ripe red berries in Pinot Noir and juicy tropical fruits in Pinot Grigio. Warm climate wines also have lower acidity and tend to be full-bodied. 

Cool climate wines will have less sugar development, lower alcohol levels, light bodies, and high acidity. Cool climate Pinot Noir tends to display more earthy notes, such as black tea. Cool climate Pinot Grigio will have more apple and citrus notes. 

If you like fruitier wines, consider looking for warm climate examples of Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio. Some recommendations: California, Australia, and Argentina.

Red and white wine paired with food

Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Noir Food Pairings

Both Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir are great food wines. Because of their subtle flavors and relatively high levels of acidity, they’re easy to pair with food.

In general, a basic recommendation for food and wine pairing is to pair white wines with lighter fares, such as seafood, chicken, and salads; it’s then also recommended to pair red wines with things such as tomato sauce and red meat. In the case of Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir, however, both are so food friendly you can easily mix this up a bit and play with flavors!

Pinot Grigio Food Pairings

Because Pinot Grigio is a white grape with a light, dry and crisp nature, it’s an easy pairing for most foods. In fact, it’s one of my go-to choices when there’s a big food spread and I want a wine to go with anything!

Pinot Grigio will especially pair well with light seafood dishes and creamy sauces. The citrus notes and crisp acidity help “lift” the flavors of what you pair it with, and refresh the palate between bites.

Pinot Noir Food Pairings

The low to medium tannins and high acidity of Pinot Noir make it a very versatile and food-friendly wine. In particular, it’s ideal paired with leaner meats, such as beef, pork, and poultry. My favorite Pinot Noir food pairing? Bacon – it’s a must-try pairing! 

Pinot Noir is also one of the most versatile wines when it comes to cheese and wine pairings, and can be successfully paired with most styles – keep that in mind when throwing together your next unique charcuterie board!

Aged Pinot Noir tends to develop more earthy, savory, and leathery notes. It’s best paired with duck, warm winter casseroles, and classic pairings, such as beef bourguignon. Yum!

Suggested: The Complete Guide to Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is one of the oldest wine varieties in the world. Read the complete guide to Pinot Noir and brush up on everything you need to know about this popular wine!

>> Read the post here << 

Pinot Noir vs Pinot Grigio Conclusion

In conclusion, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio are two completely different styles of wine, despite their shared DNA. Depending on what you’re in the mood for – white or red wine – you’re going to have a clear preference. Although… that isn’t to say you can’t love both when the time is right!

Personally, I reach for Pinot Grigio on hot summer days. It’s a fantastic pool sipper, especially if you know how to keep it chilled. On the other hand, Pinot Noir is my classic Netflix-and-Chill wine. A cozy and delicious wine that I love to pair with dinner. 

What are your thoughts on Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Noir? Let me know in the comments below!

Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Noir FAQs:

Is Pinot Gris the same as Pinot Grigio?

Yes… and no! Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same grape variety, however, they refer to two distinct styles of wine. Pinot Grigio tends to be crisper and more fruit-forward, whereas Pinot Gris wine is more floral with tropical fruit flavors. 

What is a Pinot?

In French, “Pinot” means “pine cone”. The wine grapes got their name from the clusters of grapes are tightly bundled together on the vine, resembling pine cones. All “Pinot” wines are color mutations of the Pinot Noir grape – which includes Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir. 

What color is Pinot Grigio?

Pinot Grigio is a white grape with a slightly grayish-blue color when ripe (in fact, that’s where it gets its name! “Grigio” means gray and refers to the color of the grape’s skin).

What color is Pinot Noir?

Pinot Noir is a red grape that produces red wine.

Are Pinot Grigios sweet?

No! Most Pinot Grigio wines are dry; however, because it’s a fruit-forward wine, some wine drinkers may mistake the fruit notes for residual sugar. 

Read more: Is Pinot Grigio sweet?