While Pinot Grigio works well with Italian dishes, it's really an all-purpose white that can be enjoyed with a number of foods. It's moderately priced, widely available and an easy-to-like wine, even if you drink infrequently. In France and other regions, wine made from the same grape is called Pinot Gris. Lively acidity is the trademark of Pinot Grigo; with Pinot Gris, it's the ripe fruit flavors.
The northeastern region of Italy, most notably Friuli, produces the country's most distinguished Pinot Grigio. Several countries in central Europe produce a crisp, dry version. Pinot Gris is made in the Alsace region of France, Canada, Australia and the U.S., particularly in Oregon. It's less available than Pinot Grigio, but demand is growing.
Pinot Grigio is vinified (made into wine) before the grapes are fully ripened so it retains its acid and emerges crisp, light and dry. Pinot Gris is vinified after full ripening, so fruit flavors dominate and the wine is rich, round and honeyed.
Aroma and taste
In both styles, you can find notes of peach, pear, tangerine, apple, lemon, lime, hazelnut, minerals, thyme or oregano.
These wines work well with garlic, shallots, Italian herbs, tomatoes, bell peppers, green olives, capers, butter sauces, mustard, mayonnaise, yogurt and sour cream.
Pinot Grigio is often enjoyed as an aperitif, with appetizer trays that offer raw vegetables, smoked fish or shellfish, and pasta salads. It's also a good choice to serve with entrees, such as cold poached fish, and fried fish or chicken with tomato sauce. Pinot Gris stars with moderately spiced Asian preparations, shellfish or vegetable cream soups, grilled or roasted poultry, and rich fish such as salmon. Pinot Gris' honey component makes it a natural match for white meat or fish served with fruit.