Picture this: you want to make yourself a delicious pasta or chicken dish, and you want to pick the perfect white wine to pair with it. You’re in the wine aisle and faced with Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir.
Both types of wine are white wine, but how are they different from each other? In this article, we’re going to examine the differences between these two wines, how they pair with different foods, and what their similarities are as well.
Let’s get into it.
What is the main difference between Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio?
The main difference between Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio is that Pinot Noir is a red wine, while Pinot Grigio is a white wine. However, it might interest you to know that both wines come from different variations of the same grape! Every type of Pinot wine comes from the same grape with a different color mutation.
Now, we’re going to look more closely at how these wines are different in the comparison section below.
Aside from the fact that one wine is red and the other white, we’re going to look more closely at the other differences that set these wines apart. Let’s get into it.
The first factor that sets these two wines apart is their how they taste and their overall flavor profile. While both wines contain fruit notes, Pinot Noir is well known for its berry flavors like strawberry, cherry, and even plum flavors. On the other hand, Pinot Grigio is well known for its lighter fruit flavors, like pear, apple, and citrus.
If you’re not a wine person, you might not know that some wines need to be chilled before they are served. While Pinot Noir tastes best when it is at room temperature, Pinot Grigio generally tastes better and pairs with food better when it has been chilled. We recommend chilling a bottle of Pinot Noir for at least three or four hours before serving it, and we recommend that it is chilled in a fridge with an average temperature of 47°C.
Acidity is another important factor to consider when examining the differences between two types of wine. Pinot Grigio is significantly less acidic than Pinot Noir, and this is because of the grapes that are used to make it. As we mentioned before, both types of wine are made from the same grapes at different stages of growth. Since Pinot Grigio is made from grapes called Pinot Gris that are grown in warmer climates, its overall flavor is much less acidic. On the other hand, Pinot Noir grapes are grown in a cooler climate, which contributes to its higher levels of acidity.
We touched on climate briefly in the factor above, but let’s look at it more closely. Climate affects the flavor of the way grapes are grown. When it comes to Pinot Grigio, the Pinot Gris grapes grow in warmer climates, contributing to the pear and citrus notes of the wine. On the other hand, since Pinot Noir is made from Pinot Noir grapes which are grown in a cooler climate, it means that the wine has lower sugar content and a more noticeable bite when you sip it for the first time. As a result, Pinot Noir has an earthier and more berry-like overall flavor.
One of the most noticeable characteristics between the two types of wine is the alcohol content differences. Pinot Grigio’s alcohol content is between 12.5 and 13.5%, while Pinot Noir’s alcohol content is 13.5 to 14.5%. Pinot Grigio has a lower alcohol percentage because of its low acidity/
It’s no secret that the older wine gets, the better it tastes! In this case, Pinot Noir’s aging potential is much better than Pinot Grigio. Since red wines are typically fermented with the skins on, grape skins hold acidity much better. This means that over time, a chemical reaction takes place that causes red wine to age well, meaning that it tastes better over time. It’s worth noting that you can let an opened bottle of Pinot Noir sit for a longer period of time than a Pinot Grigio.
How Do You Pair Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir With Food?
Since Pinot Noir earthy, rich, and heavier than Pinot Grigio, it’s a great idea to pair with foods that sit heavier on your palate. Think of red meats, mushrooms, and roast dishes. A great place to start would be mushroom risotto, because the umami flavors of the mushroom complement the slightly fruity flavors of a Pinot Grigio.
If you’re not a mushroom person, we recommend grilled salmon, roast lamb or pork, or even roast duck. The fruit notes in a glass of Pinot Noir cut through the fattiness of the meats mentioned above well, making them a delightful combination. Additionally, if you’re serving an appetizer or need something to complement a charcuterie board, then we recommend serving baked brie and rosemary with your choice of Pinot Noir.
When it comes to pairing a wine like Pinot Grigio with food, a good rule of thumb is to remember that the wine you’re serving must be slightly sweeter than the food it accompanies. Since Pinot Grigio is well known for its light and refreshing taste, it’s a great wine to serve in the summer. It pairs well with white meat, like grilled chicken and a summer salad, seafood like raw clams, halibut, and oysters. It also pairs well with pasta salads. If your pasta dish has a cream-based sauce or a creamy vinaigrette, then we recommend pairing a different wine with it.
Regardless of whether you’re a fancy wine drinker or someone who doesn’t mine getting their wine from a box, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio are both excellent choices for every kind of wine drinker. In this article, we looked closely at the differences between the two wines, as well the types of food that pair best with each. We hope it helped!