Pinot Noir Vs Pinot Grigio (7 Key Differences)

    Pinot Noir Vs Pinot Grigio Wine

    Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio - two wines that both sound so similar it’s easy to forgive mixing them up, but what is the difference between the two?

    Let’s find out for certain by looking at the differences between Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio.

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    Pinot Noir vs Pinot Grigio: 7 Main Differences

    They have very similar names so how can you tell the difference between a Pinot Noir and a Pinot Grigio?

    To help you compare the two we’ve compiled the 7 main differences between Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio:

    1. Origins

    Pinot Grigio Vs Pinot Noir Vineyards

    Pinot Noir is from the Burgundy region of France where it is known for making some really head-turning fine wines.

    Pinot Grigio is often thought to originate from Italy, however the wine is actually a mutant of Pinot Noir!

    This means the two grapes are genetically related and also come from the same region.

    But if Pinot Grigio is related to Pinot Noir does that mean the grapes share the same characteristics?

    2. Grape Characteristics

    Pinot Grigio Vs Pinot Noir Grapes

    How can you tell the difference between a Pinot Grigio and a Pinot Noir grape

    The main difference between Pinot Grigio and PInot Noir is the colour of their skin.

    • Pinot Noir is a thin, red skinned grape which is very tricky to grow.
    • Pinot Grigio grapes have a very unique grey-blue hue to their skins. The name Pinot Grigio translates to Grey Pine Cone.

    Does the colour of their skins affect the colour of the wine they will produce? Do Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir wines look the same?

    3. Appearance

    Pinot Noir Vs Pinot Grigio

    The colour of a grape’s skin will have a huge impact on the colour wine the grapes will make.

    This can be tricker with red-skinned varieties but comes in handy when telling the difference between a Pinot Noir and a Pinot Grigio.

    Pinot Noir makes a red wine because the grapes have a red coloured skin.

    Pinot Grigio on the other hand makes golden coloured white wines.

    These two different appearances will make the wines easy to tell apart.

    So do these different colours affect the ideal serving suggestions for Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir?

    4. Serving

    Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir Serving Temperatures

    Just because Pinot grigio is a white wine does that mean it should be chilled?

    Yes, the main difference when it comes to serving Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir is that Pinot Grigio is a white wine which prefers a colder serving temperature of around 6-8°C (42-47°F).

    Pinot Noir prefers to be room temperature in comparison (12-18°C or 54-65°F).

    Although all wine glasses will work well you may want to serve your Pinot Noir in a Burgundy style glass and your Pinot Grigio in a smaller, white wine glass to help preserve its fresh and fruity flavours.

    In order to get the most out of serving your wines it’s important to know what Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir taste like.

    5. Tasting Notes

    Infographic Taste Profile Charts for Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir

    Do Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio taste the same?

    • Pinot Noir grapes make a light, delicate red wine with notes of soft violets, ripe cherries and earthy mushrooms.
    • Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, has lots of fresh, zesty acidity. Think crisp green apple, sweet pear drops and zesty lemons.

    So what are the best food pairings for each of these wines?

    Read more about what Pinor Noir tastes like here.

    6. Food Pairings

    Food Pairings

    Pinot Noir is a great wine for slightly tricker dishes. Ingredients like: mushroom, brie and cured meats go fantastically with the light and bright nature of Pinot Noir.

    Pinot Grigio's go best with food thats zesty and fresh. Think lemony risottos, simple pasta dishes and fish dishes with lots of fresh herbs.

    So how do all of these differences affect price?

    Is Pinot Noir more expensive than Pinot Grigio?

    7. Price

    Pinot Grigio is easy to grow so it grows in vineyards all over the world - which makes it a more affordable wine choice than Pinot Noir.

    Because of the higher production costs involved in Pinot Noir production it is often a more expensive bottle of wine (especially when it's grown in Burgundy).

    But does that mean that Pinot Noir is better than Pinot Grigio?

    Which Is Better: Pinot Noir Or Pinot Grigio?

    Whether Pinot Noir is better than Pinot Grigio is really down to personal preference.

    For a fresh, white wine then there’s nothing better than a glass of Pinot Grigio.

    For something with a bit more body and luscious red wine comfort then Pinot Noir is the one for you.

    Why not have both as options for your next dinner party and see which ones your guest prefers?

    The ultimate battle of red versus white wine!

    Related Guide: What Does Pinot Grigio Taste Like?

    Summary of the Differences Between Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio

    Although the details of each wine can vary with production method along with the region of origin. Here's a summary of the differences between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir:

    Key Differences Pinot Noir Pinot Grigio
    Origins Burgundy, France Derived from Pinot Noir, originated from Burgundy, France
    Grape Characteristics Thin, red-skinned grape Unique grey-blue skinned grape
    Appearance Red wine Golden-colored white wine
    Serving Temperature Room temperature (12-18°C or 54-65°F) Cold temperature (6-8°C or 42-47°F)
    Tasting Notes Light, delicate red wine with notes of cherries, violets, and mushrooms Fresh, zesty white wine with notes of green apple, pear drops, and lemons
    Food Pairings Mushroom, brie, and cured meats Lemony risottos, simple pasta dishes, and fish dishes with fresh herbs
    Price Generally more expensive Generally more affordable

    Before You Go...


    We hope this article answers any questions you may have on Pinot Noir vs Pinot Grigio.

    If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, or email us at

    If you want to learn more about other types, consider our related blog posts:

    You can browse more posts on Wine Types here.

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    philip thompson Author: Philip Thompson
    Philip is the General Manager at Expert Wine Storage, and is very knowledgable about all things relating to wine and wine storage, including wine fridges. He is regularly featured in media outlets sharing his knowledge on wine. Connect on Linkedin

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