Choosing between the pinot noir vs pinot Gris grape varieties is easier when you know a few facts about these wines. Wine drinkers who know the differences between these wine grapes will have a better wine experience.
Are Pinot Noir vs Pinot Gris Wines Similar?
Pinot Noir is a red wine grape, while Pinot Gris is a white grape. Therefore, these wines are quite different in terms of the level of tannins, acidity levels, fruit notes, and primary fruit flavors. In summary, the flavor profiles do not have much in common.
The similarity between these wines lies in the name “Pinot.” The French word Pinot means ‘pine cone,’ and it is a traditional way to describe a bunch of grapes appearing on the vine. Pinot Noir means ‘black pine cone’ while Pinot Gris means ‘grey pine cone.’
This means the grape variety has a similar appearance to the wine. In addition, Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Noir are both French terms for these grapes. These terms are also used outside France when a wine region or winemaker aspires to the French style. Pinot Gris
It’s important to note that the Italian translation of Pinot Gris (i.e., Pinot Grigio) is also quite popular. If you see an American Pinot Grigio and an Alsace Pinot Gris in the store, you are looking at the same wine grape. These lighter grapes have similar berry flavors and abundant fruit flavors. The bright acidity in these styles of wine directly influences the ideal food pairing options for these wines.
How Do These Wines Taste? Flavor Profile Comparison
The Pinot Noir flavor profile is highly popular with wine drinkers because it is considered an easy-to-drink red wine. This red wine is also a hit for those who like white wines because Pinot Noir has low tannins. The primary fruit flavors in Pint Noir generally include cherry, strawberry, and raspberry. You may encounter additional flavors from oak barrels, like spice and vanilla.
The Pinot Gris (also known as Pinot Grigio) is a different experience. The fruit notes in this wine include citrus notes of lime, lemon, pear, and apple. The acidity levels in Pinot Grigio also make this wine refreshing to enjoy on hot summer days.
Like all wines, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir are made in different styles. For instance, warm-climate wines tend to have brighter fruit flavors. In contrast, wine grapes and wines produced in cool climates tend to be fewer fruiter wines and have more mineral notes. These climate differences also influence the food pairings that work with both types of wine.
Pinot Noir vs. Pinot Gris Food Pairings
Finding the ideal foods that pair with different wine varieties is one of the best ways to bring wine to life. Let’s look at a range of foods for each wine.
Pinot Noir Food Pairing
In a previous post, I covered Pinot Noir food pairing in depth. The short version is that Pinot Noir, including aged Pinot Noir and affordable Pinot Noir, work well with many types of wine. Pinot Noir usually has a medium body, so it works with multiple dishes.
Food pairing with a white wine grape like Pinot Gris or Pinot Blancs is different. These styles of wines offer brilliant acidity, so the wine you match well with that aspect.
Pinot Gris/Grigio Food Pairing
The natural acidity and citrus flavors in this type of wine mean it pairs well with vegetarian dishes, light meats, and white meats like chicken. In addition, seafood salad pairs well with this style of wine. In addition, the stone fruit flavors in this wine mean it will pair well with lighter fruit dishes.
Typically, Pinot Gris does not have medium tannins or spice notes. As a result, these wines are not a good fit for many Asian dishes.
Top Wine Regions
These two Pinot wine grapes are grown in many different regions. You can find quality Pinot Grigios grown in Europe, America, and other wine regions. Likewise, Pinot Noir is grown in many different countries around the world. To help you understand the different wine types, look for examples of these wines from warmer climates and cooler climates.
Pinot Noir Wine Regions
As Wine Folly pointed out, Pinot Noir is considered a “fickle” grape. It doesn’t thrive in all environments. Let’s look at some of the major wine region options for this popular red wine.
- France: Burgundy is home to some of the world’s best Pinot Noir wines. Wine lovers can find incredible options, especially those not concerned with affordability.
- United States: Sonoma County in California is a popular option. Even better known, Oregon is an excellent choice for American Pinot Noir.
- Italy. Pinot Noir goes by a different name in Italy – Pinot Nero. To learn more, check out this comparison post: Pinot Nero vs Pinot Noir wine comparison.
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio Wine Regions
The top wine regions for this white wine region look a bit different.
- France: The Alsace region, bordering Germany, is well regarded as a producer of Pinot Gris wine.
- Italy. The Italian style of Pinot Gris, known as Pinot Grigio, is famously produced in the northern region of Alto Adigo (South Tyrol).
- United States: Oregon and Washington are both excellent options.
- New Zealand: Pinot Grigio is the third most planted grape in New Zealand.
Pinot Noir vs Pinot Gris In Summary
Despite their name similarities, these two wine varieties have little in common. These wine grapes are more common in cooler wine regions like Oregon. However, there are differences in terms of fruit flavors, levels of acidity, and food pairing. For example, Pinot Grigio is likely to be a better pairing for light seafood dishes, while Pinot Noir wouldn’t be the best pairing for that dish.
To fully appreciate each wine, taste it compared to some other wines. For example, taste some Pinot Gris alongside Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Blanc. Likewise, compare Pinot Noir with other red wines (or start here: Pinot Noir vs Merlot).