Pinot Noir vs Pinot Grigio – 4 Key Differences

white and red


Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio are two popular types of wine that are often compared to one another.

Have you ever been out to dinner with friends and faced the conundrum of choosing between a glass of Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio?

While it may seem like an easy choice, there’s actually a lot more to explore when it comes to these two types of wines. And if you’re not sure what each tastes like – or when is the appropriate time to partake of each one – this post will help!

From their respective regions to the grapes that make up each type, we are going to break down all there is to know about the differences between Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio.

Pinot Noir Vs Pinot Grigio Grape Differences

white and dark grapes

Before we start, it is important to note that Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris is the same grape variety, known by a different name in various countries.

While Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio both come from the same family of the Pinot grapes, they have distinct differences in terms of taste, appearance, and origin.

Both grapes come from the Burgundian family Pinot and belong to the Vitis vinifera species, but Pinot Noir is a red wine grape variety whereas Pinot Grigio is a white wine grape variety.

However, here’s a shocker for you: Pinot Grigio grapes and Pinot Noir grapes are color mutations of the same grape, so they do have something in common.

While growing on the vine, both of them form pine cone-like clusters, which is actually what lead to these wine grapes being called Pinot (French for pine cone).

The color of the Pinot Noir grape is dark blue, while the color of the Pinot Grigio grape is grayish, and when ripe it even gets a pinkish hue.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Noir Vs Pinot Grigio Flavor Profile Differences

The most obvious difference between these two wines is their color. Pinot Noir is a light and nearly clear red wine, whereas Pinot Grigio looks light gold and it is typically a white wine, and although very rarely, there are Rosé Pinot Grigio wines.

Another important distinction between Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio is their flavor profile.

Pinot Noir tasting characteristics

Pinot Noir is an elegant and delicate wine, known for its light body, low tannins, and smooth texture. It is fruit-forward with well-balanced acidity, with notes of cherry and raspberry, and when grown in cool climates earthy and mushroomy flavors.

Pinot Grigio tasting characteristics

On the other hand, Pinot Grigio is a dry, crisp and refreshing white wine that has subtle green fruit flavors and a light body. It has no tannins, and its fruit flavors typically include green apple, pear, and lime.

In terms of alcohol content, Pinot Noir typically has an ABV of 11.5-14.5%, while Pinot Grigio wine usually has an ABV of 10-13.5%.

Pinot Noir Vs Pinot Grigio Region differences

When it comes to regions of origin, both Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio are native to France, yet they thrive very well in various regions around the world.

Where is Pinot Noir Grown

Pinot Noir is a very difficult grape to cultivate, due to its thin skin and predisposition to different diseases.

Pinot Noir grapes have been grown for centuries in France, where they actually originate from.

Burgundy and Oregon are known for producing stunning Pinot Noirs, and some other regions famous for producing great Pinot Noir wines are California, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Germany, and Chile.

Where is Pinot Grigio Grown

This variety is native to France where it is known as Pinot Gris, grown vastly in the Alsace region, which is the region where the best bottles of this wine come from. Despite that, most people associate Pinot Grigio with Italy.

The grape was brought and first grown in the Mediterranean country in the second half of the 20th century, where it gained tremendous popularity.

Other popular regions for Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris grapes are California, Oregon, Argentina, Chile, and many others.

Both types of wines can be very distinct depending on their region of origin, and a sommelier can usually guess where they came from with just a sip.

Food Pairings

When it comes to food pairings, both are versatile wines and are known as great food companions.

ladies having lunch

Pinot Noir pairings

Due to its light body and soft tannins, Pinot Noir pairs beautifully with lean meats, pasta, and fatty fish. There is enough refreshing acidity to cut through the heaviness of foods and one can even expand further and match it with grilled lamb chops, or roasted .

Pinot Grigio pairings

The crisp acidity and the citrus flavors of Pinot Grigio make it a great companion to any salads, creamy meals, or light seafood dishes.

Pinot Noir Vs Pinot Grigio Pricing What Are The Differences

Although it might sound snobbish, it is a known fact among wine drinkers that red wines in general can be much pricier than white wines, especially if we are talking about an aged Pinot Noir.

Expensive wine

Pinot Noir pricing

The demanding nature of the Pinot Noir grape results in a smaller production scale, which along with the aging process leads to a higher price for the final product.

Although their best samples hold the title for being some of the most expensive red wines in the world, there are fairly decent Pinot Noir wines that don’t cost a fortune.

A good Pinot Noir can cost anywhere from $20 to $100 per bottle.

Pinot Grigio pricing

Pinot Grigio is usually produced in larger quantities and it has a shorter production process compared to Pinot Noir, which results in a lower final cost.

Although there are bottles that go for more than 100$, it is easy to find good Pinot Grigio wines in the mid-priced range between 15$ to 35$.


Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir offer two distinct flavor profiles that appeal to different palates. The grapes also have different regions of origin and a range of price points depending on their level of quality.

Overall, while there may be some similarities between these two types of wines, they are ultimately very different in terms of flavor, origin, and food pairing.

It is important to consider these differences when deciding which wine to pick for your next meal.

Pinot Grigio’s light and refreshing taste may make it ideal for summer get-togethers, while Pinot Noir offers an elegant and complex flavor, that goes very well with a wide variety of food, as well as on its own.

So keep these key factors in mind when selecting your next bottle—and enjoy! (1)

Pinot Grigio vs Pinot Noir FAQ

What is the difference between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir?

Pinot Noir is a red wine that is known for its rich, fruity flavor and smooth finish, while Pinot Grigio is a white wine that is characterized by its crisp, dry taste and light body.

Which is sweeter Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio?

Both wines fall under the dry wines category. The reason why they taste sweet to some people is the fruit-forward profile of the wines.

Are Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir the same grape?

They are both mutations of the Pinot grape family, but NO, Pinot Noir is a dark-skinned grape that produces mostly red wines, while Pinot Grigio is a grayish-blue color grape that is famous for the white wines it produces.

Stan Kushkin

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