Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio: Unravel the Subtle Nuances

Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio - two glasses of white wine next to a bottle of wine

Curious about the differences between Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio? You’re not alone!

Wine enthusiasts often encounter the terms “Pinot Grigio” and “Pinot Gris,” assuming they refer to two distinct wines. However, these two names actually refer to the same grape variety! The differences lie in their styles, production methods, and the regions in which they are grown. 

In this blog post, we will explore the unique characteristics of Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Gris, and discover how they stand out from each other despite sharing the same origin.

Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio Grapes
Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio Grapes

The Origin Story

The origin story of Pinot Grigio is a fascinating one that traces back to the Pinot family of grape varieties and the Burgundy region of France.

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris are white wine grapes that produce white wines.

The grape’s history is believed to have started in the Burgundy region of France, where it is thought to be a genetic mutation of the red Pinot Noir grapes. The mutation resulted in a grape with a grayish-blue skin color, which gave rise to the name “Pinot Gris” (gris meaning gray in French; “Grigio” is the word for grey in Italian).

>> Related: Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Noir

Today, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris wines are some of the most popular white wine varieties globally. Its light, crisp, and refreshing style has made it a favorite among wine enthusiasts and a staple on wine lists and in wine shops worldwide.

Name Connotations

The primary distinction between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio lies in the connotation associated with each name. “Pinot Grigio” is an Italian term, while “Pinot Gris” is French. 

Generally, wines labeled “Pinot Grigio” are associated with a lighter, crisper, and more refreshing style, commonly found in the northern regions of Italy. 

On the other hand, “Pinot Gris” often indicates a more complex, fuller-bodied wine, as is typical of the Alsace region in France.

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio tasting notes - lemon, lime, greenapple, peach

Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Gris – Style and Taste

Pinot Grigio Taste

Pinot Grigio has zesty high acidity and a light-bodied nature, making it a perfect summer sipper. It typically offers subtle flavors of citrus fruits, green apple, and pear, with a refreshing, clean finish. Due to its minimal skin contact during production, it maintains a pale yellow color and is lighter-bodied. Pinot Grigio wine is similar to a Sauvignon Blanc.

For food pairings, consider highlighting lighter flavors, such as seafood, salads, and light poultry dishes.

Pinot Gris Taste

Pinot Gris, however, undergoes a different winemaking process, involving more extended skin contact. This imparts a deeper color, ranging from a golden hue to a coppery pink.

The extra skin contact also allows for more pronounced aromas and flavors. Expect to find notes of ripe stone fruits, tropical fruits, honey, and a richer texture on the palate. Pinot Gris tends to be more aromatic and has a silkier mouthfeel compared to its Grigio counterpart.

Pinot Gris, with its slightly richer and more complex profile is an excellent choice for pairing with various flavors, particularly those with a touch of sweetness or richness. Consider roasted chicken, creamy pasta, or grilled seafood.

Pinot Gris vineyards in France

Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio – Production Regions

Pinot Grigio is primarily associated with Italy, especially in regions like Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, and Alto Adige. The Italian Pinot Grigios are known for their light and crisp character, often served as a delightful aperitif or with light seafood dishes.

Pinot Gris thrives in the Alsace region of France, where it is the most important white grape variety. Alsace Pinot Gris tends to be more full-bodied and higher in alcohol, suitable for pairing with richer foods like foie gras, roasted poultry, and spicy dishes.


Both Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are versatile wines, complementing a wide range of cuisines and occasions. Pinot Grigio’s refreshing acidity makes it an excellent choice for warm weather and light fare, while Pinot Gris’s complexity and structure make it well-suited for heartier meals and cooler evenings.


Although Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris share the same grape variety, their distinct styles, names, and regional associations set them apart. Pinot Grigio delights with its crispness and lightness, while Pinot Gris impresses with its depth and complexity. 

Whether you prefer a refreshing sip on a sunny day or a more complex experience, exploring both wines offers a fascinating journey through the world of Pinot Gris/Grigio. So, go ahead, indulge in these delightful wines, and discover the subtle nuances each has to offer. Cheers!