Named after its grape variety, Pinot Grigio is the second most famous white wine in the United States after Chardonnay. Pinot Grigio grapes produce a light, refreshing, crisp, dry white wine. They belong to a family of Pinot grapes, which also produces Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc.
Pinot Grigio is known by different names in different countries which we will discuss at length further. Grigio means “gray” in Italian, named after the grayish blue color of ripe Pinot Grigio grapes. It originated in the Burgundy region of France, but is now majorly produced in Northern Italy. Other regions where you can find Pinot Grigio different names are mentioned below:
It is called Pinot Gris in France, where it is produced in the Alsace region. Although made with the same grape, Pinot Gris is spicier and richer than Pinot Grigio. It is aged and cellared for a better flavor profile.
It is popular as “Grauer Burgunder” in Germany. This variety is medium bodied, slightly sweet, with balancing acidity.
It goes by the name of “grauburgunder” in Austria.
New Zealand, Australia, Oregon in the USA, and Hungary are other regions where you can find Pinot Grigio.
Wine characteristics of Pinot Grigio
Based on its origins, there may be variations in its taste which is affected by climate, soil, ageing, fermentation, and other factors. But, every wine has its own characteristics. The wine characteristics mentioned below explains what the Pinot Grigio taste like.
The taste of Pinot Grigio like any other wine is fairly relative because the grapes have complex notes. It is common to find different tasting notes while you are at it. However, green apple, peach, lime, and sometimes banana are its fruit notes. Other notes are saline, honey, almond, and spice notes of cinnamon, clove, and ginger. It is interesting to note that the dry, mouth watering Pinot Grigio leaves a tingling aftertaste.
The acidity levels, residual sugar levels, body, and alcohol levels define the wine structure. The Pinot Grigio structure is mentioned below.
Pinot Grigio has a medium to medium plus acidity. After taking a sip, if you experience a mouth watering sensation, it means the acidity level is high.
Although you experience a burning sensation in the back of your throat, the Pinot Grigio has pretty balanced medium alcoholic levels.
The body refers to the heaviness or lightness of a wine. Like skimmed or whole milk, wines can be heavy or light on your tongue. Pinot Grigio is lighter than Pinot Gris. Grigio is not oaked, or heavy, or cream, it is rather crisp and refreshing.
Is Pinot Grigio dry or sweet?
With a variety of taste profiles in Pinot wines, it is easy to get confused and ask questions like is Pinot Grigio dry or sweet, and do Pinot wines taste different based on sub regions?
Pinot Grigio is mostly produced in Northern Italy. The grapes in this cooler mountainous region have high acidity, and produce a light bodied, white wine. It carries light flavors of green apple, lime, lemon, salinity, and minerality. Italians like to refer to Pinot Grigio as a refreshing lemonade drink, only less sweet.
Initially born in Burgundy, Pinot Gris from Alsace is a lot different in taste. This is because the amount of sunshine vineyards in Alsace results in higher concentrations of fruits, less acidity, and more body, and alcohol. Vendange Tardive is a style of late harvesting in Alsace, which makes the wine sweeter with a strong flavor profile, and reduced acidity. Pinot Gris exhibits notes of pear, peach, yellow apple, honey, ginger, and other spices.
As for the German varieties, they taste slightly sweeter. In a nutshell, Pinot Grigio is an acidic, light bodied, dry wine. The varieties can be both citrus and sweet, and range from full to medium bodied based on their origins.
Color and texture
Pinot Grigio can be very pale to a deep gold color. They typically have a silky and smooth texture. The Italian variety appears bright and simple like lemonade.
The salinity notes in the wine’s tame acidity and make way for extraordinary pairing options between wine and food. Pinot Grigio is a citrus, dry wine with crispness and acidity making it a good pairing option for light, summer foods like chicken dishes, seafood, and others mentioned below:
Crudites, Prosciutto and other cured meats, smoked salmon, fresh fruits, salty olives, sweets, jellies, tarts, and mild, creamy, soft cheese, and fresh mozzarella are some pairing options for Pinot Grigio.
Shellfish with Pinot Grigio makes a classic pair because lemon, butter, and shrimp with light protein matches well with citrus, high, acidity Italian style wines. On the same note, Chicken Piccata goes well with a creamier, heavier style of Pinot Gris.
Do you chill Pinot Grigio?
Most wines are best served at a temperature of 45-65 degree, making people ask questions like should Pinot Grigio be chilled? Well, yes, the flavors of this white wine are enhanced when served chilled. You can refrigerate it for two to three hours and leave it at room temperature for ten minutes before serving it in its best state.