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Pinot Grigio

Pee-noh gree-joe

The Pinot Grigio grape is traced back to the Middle Ages, to its ancestral variety, Fromenteau. Pinot Grigio as well as its sister grape, Pinot Noir, spread from Burgundy to Switzerland in 1300 and soon after developed the name Szürkebarát. By 1711, the grape had become wild and rediscovered in Germany by Johann Seger Rulan. He made these vines into the modern Pinot Grigio, at that time named Ruländer. The popularity of the wine dropped off in the 18th and 19th centuries due to poor crop seasons but was reinvigorated in popularity in 2005. 

A common misconception about Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris is that the only difference between the two is one is from Italy and the other is from France. This is NOT true! Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are identical in the sense that they are made from the same grape, but there is a big difference in the style of wine produced. Pinot Gris is typically from the Alsace region of France and is sweeter (more on this later) while a Pinot Grigio from Italy will be lighter and crisper. Wines outside of these specific areas choose to use Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris purely for stylistic reasons (as with naming a wine Syrah or Shiraz when it doesn't come from France or Australia) so they generally pick the name that fits the style they are looking for!

Fast Facts

Parents & Origin: White wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera

Notable Regions: Italy, California, Oregon, and Germany

Grape: Normally has a grayish-blue color, representing its name, but the grapes can have a brownish pink to black and even white appearance

Flavors: lime, green apple, lemon, Meyer lemon, pear, white nectarine, white peach

Sweetness: dry

Body: medium

Tannins: none

Acidity: medium-high to high

ABV: 12.5-13.5%

How to Serve Pinot Grigio

glass of pinot grigio

Pinot Grigio Serving Temperature

45ºF (7ºC) 

Wine Glass for Pinot Grigio

White

How Long to Decant Pinot Grigio

None

How Long to Age Pinot Grigio

3-5 years

Flavor Profile

Notable Flavors: Lime, Green Apple, Lemon, Pear, White Nectarine, White Peach, Almond, Honeysuckle, Honey, Clove, Ginger, Spice

Pinot Grigio offers a refreshing sparkle of acidity in comparison to other whites. There’s also a surprising weighted feeling in the middle of your tongue with each sip! The primary fruit flavors in every bottle are lime, lemon, pear, white nectarine and apple. But each Pinot Grigio ranges between faint honeyed notes, floral aromas like honeysuckle, and a saline-like minerality. Italian Pinot Grigio, the most popular and often found Pinot Grigio of those produced, is the driest, has the strongest acid, and possesses a bitter almond note. Pinot Grigio from the US, the next most popular, is a little tamer with less acidity and more exaggerated fruit flavors. Last and not least is the French Pinot Grigio, typically only found as a Pinot Gris, which is more fleshy and more unctuous with faint honey notes from botrytis.

Popular Pinto Grigio Regions

Born out of the Alsace region in France, this wine has a variety of profiles based on where it is grown. In Italy, Pinot Grigio is typically dry, acidic, and bitter. In France, where it is known as “Pinot Gris” it is sweeter with honey undertones. An American Pinot Grigio is less acidic and features citrus tones. 

For Pinot Grigios from around the world, shop Martha Stewart White Wines!

pinot grigio grapes

Food Pairings for Pinot Grigio

Given the high level of acidity and lack of tannins and sweetness traditionally in Pinot Grigio, it is best enjoyed with food! And by food, we mean tangy herbs. The honey, citrus undertones of Pinot Grigio typically pairs well with white meats, seafood, and fresh vegetables. 

Meat Pairings

Tilapia, scallops, sea bass, perch, sole, haddock, trout, cod, redfish, halibut, snapper, mussels, clams, oysters, chicken, turkey

Cheese Pairings

Look for semi-soft firm cow’s and sheep’s milk cheeses. Gruyere, Muenster, Grana Padano

Herbs & Spices

Parsley, mint, tarragon, thyme, fennel, chives, white pepper, coriander, turmeric, saffron, ginger, cinnamon, clove, Allspice

Other Pairings

Fresh vegetables and salads, shallots, garlic, ginger

Vegetables 

Cucumber, yellow squash, celery, onion, parsnip, jicama, kale, green apple, green melon, white beans, cauliflower, broccoli

Avoid These Dishes

Avoid overly spicy foods with a common Pinot Grigio. Instead of intense spices go with more fresh herbs such as parsley, mint, tarragon, thyme, fennel, chives. You also want to try avoiding Pinot Grigio with very soft cheeses such as buffalo mozzarella, camembert, brie, and ricotta. Since Pinot Grigio is such a zesty wine with a bold character, do not pair it with foods possessing lots of preservatives or heavily processed. A fresh wine needs to be with fresh food!

Recommended Dishes

  1. Garlic Chili Prawns
  2. Goat cheese & walnut salad
  3. Ceviche
  4. Moule Frites

Pinot Grigio Recap

Ever since the Middle Ages, the Pinot Grigio/Gris grape has been a prized grape that produces the most lusciously fresh white. Winemakers and wine connoisseurs alike praise the crisp acidity only found in a Pinot Grigio. The sister grape to Pinot Noir brings either faint honeyed notes, floral aromas like honeysuckle, or a saline-like minerality that satisfies every palate. The best food pairings lie in sea creatures or firm cheese. It is no surprise that a bottle from the US or Italy will excite you every time.

For delicious Pinot Grigios from around the world, don't forget to shop Martha Stewart White Wines!

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