Pinot Grigio food pairing

Published November 12th, 2022

Pinot Grigio is a grape of French origins, widely grown in Italy, and very popular all over the world, especially in the USA, where it has become the most requested white wine in restaurants.

Pinot Grigio food pairing.

One of its most peculiar characteristics is that, although it produces white wines, it comes from a coppery grape variety, which has been recognized as an unstable mutation of Pinot Noir. In Italy, there is a rosé version called Pinot Grigio Ramato. This type of wine comes from a particular vinification: the must remains in contact for a short period of time with the skins and this practice enriches the wine with a beautiful pinkish nuance and an intense and complex aromatic profile.

Pinot Grigio can also produce excellent Orange wines, through a long maceration process which is widely used in Northeast Italy and Slovenia.

In Alsace, where this grape creates wines of impressive quality, it is called Pinot Gris. For those who are wondering about the difference between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris, we immediately make it clear that they are the same grape, which, however, produces wines that are stylistically very different. And the two denominations (in French or Italian) are generally used to indicate the style of the wine.

Today, we will look at the main characteristics of the grape and its wines, to understand how to enjoy the perfect Pinot Grigio food pairing.

Pinot Grigio food pairing: the basics

Depending on the style of winemaking, Pinot Grigio pairs well with a wide range of recipes and ingredients. It can be the perfect aperitif served chilled with finger foods and appetizers, but it matches fish dishes, white meat, and also spicy food.

Italian Pinot Grigio, as well as those from cooler climates, tends to be quite light in body and have citrusy flavors and medium alcohol levels, which make it perfect for fish and seafood and a lot of vegetarian dishes. Pinot Grigio, from New World and generally warmer climates, tend instead to have a higher residual sugar content and sweet aromas of tropical fruit. The best food with Pinot Grigio coming from the US, New Zealand, and Australia, will hence involve slightly more structured recipes or the use of spices.

Pinot Grigio Ramato wines, with their aromatic profiles and delicious fruitiness, are perfect for all vegetarian recipes, cured meats, and Asian food. The more complex and full-bodied Orange versions, vinified in maceration with their skins and aged in terracotta, are suitable for accompanying risottos or white meat dishes, spicy preparations, or aged cheeses.

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Difference between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris

As mentioned, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are two different wine styles made from the same grape variety. To be more precise Grigio and Gris are respectively the Italian and French words for Gray. So the grape variety is the same but the two different definitions with which the wines are labeled are commonly used as a proper style statement. Interestingly, within the United States, the same wine is known as Pinot Gris in Oregon, while it is called Pinot Grigio in California.

A wine labeled as Pinot Grigio will normally correspond to a light, crisp, and fresh wine. Of course, there are various declinations to this style, and some Pinot Grigio from the New World will be richer and more fruit-driven than the classic Italian ones, and you may even find some sweet examples from California.

Nonetheless, a Pinot Grigio is generally a delicate white wine with citrusy and fresh fruit aromas and lively acidity. So food pairing for Pinot Grigio will have to be evaluated based on these characteristics.

On the other hand, Pinot Gris is not only richer and more complex than Pinot Grigio, but wine lovers consider it sweeter. Pinot Gris wines are made in dry, off-dry, and sweet styles which allows a completely different set of food pairings.

Check out our Pinot Gris post if you want to find out more about Pinot Grigio twin brother!


Raw, steamed, pan-fried, baked au gratin, combined with mixed salads, cooked with pasta and rice, or with other shellfish and fish in a tasty and appetizing stew or soup, seafood offers myriad combinations in the kitchen. And Pinot Grigio wine pairing is always a great choice, as these dry, light white wines can mitigate and balance the sweet tendency of seafood.

With first courses based on clams or mussels or with oysters, it is better to opt for a Pinot Grigio from Washington state with good flavor and structure.

Our suggestion: 14 Hands Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio fritto misto pairing.


With its fruity aromas, freshness, and delicate structure, Pinot Grigio is just perfect for fish. The scents can enhance the marine ingredients of sushi, accentuating its delicate taste and accompanying its salty minerality. And the acid vitality and crispiness of Pinot Grigio are perfect for cleansing and refreshing the palate from the oiliness of an Italian Fritto Misto (a mixed plate of fried fish) or fish and chips.

A well-structured wine like those from the Collio will also have the right liveliness and acidity to balance harmoniously some fatty fish like tuna or salmon and create the perfect Pinot Grigio pairing.

Our suggestion: Venezia Giulia Pinot Grigio IGT, Jermann

Pinot Grigio cheese pairing.

Pinot Grigio cheese pairing

The best cheese for Pinot Grigio is generally a fresh one such as buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, or robiola, for example, that has a mildly sweet flavor that complements the dry fruity flavor of the classic Italian wine style.

The spiciness of goat cheese or the savory character of feta will be balanced by the fruity notes of a New World Pinot Grigio.

Best cheese with Pinot Grigio wines that have undergone a long maceration and aging process, like those from the Italian or Slovenian Collio, is instead one with a more complex structure and pungent flavors, like Parmesan or Comté.

Our suggestion: Bianco 'Sivi' Radikon


Poultry meat is probably one of the most recommended food to pair with Pinot Grigio. Because the two work so well together!! Poultry meat has a structure, and texture that does not overwhelm the light body of Pinot Grigio. It is a lean meat with a not-very intense flavor that goes well with the delicate fruity hints of Pinot Grigio.

Excellent combinations include roast chicken served with a medley of Mediterranean vegetables, Chicken Alfredo, chicken with lemon, or even sandwiches with chicken or turkey salad. The fresh elegance and generous flavors of a Pinot Grigio from Australia will enhance the flavors of the dish without overpowering them.

Our suggestion: Yalumba Y Series Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio vegetarian food pairing.


Similarly to Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio is a great partner for vegetarian dishes and all vegetables. It goes well even with hostile asparagus and its acidity can pair with that of tomatoes.

Try a light version with fresh salad or grilled vegetables, or a Ramato wine with richer recipes or dishes including tomatoes.

Our suggestion: Friuli Pinot Grigio Ramato DOC "Sun Goddess", Fantinel

Spicy food

A fruity and ripe-tasting Pinot Grigio, like some examples from the New World and especially Californians, goes well with spicy foods. The good acidity and freshness of Pinot Grigio combined with the not-too-high alcohol content are positive factors in this combination. However, it is better to choose dishes with moderate spiciness and not overly structured flavors such as vegetarian curry, a pad thai, or fish tacos with Pinot Grigio, in order not to unbalance the flavors.

Our suggestion: AVA Grace Pinot Grigio 2020

Pinot Grigio dessert pairing

If normally the combination of desserts and dry wine is not recommended, Pinot Grigio fruit pairing is quite common. Indeed, certain Pinot Grigio, especially American ones, that are very fruity or with a rather high sugar residue, can be perfectly combined with fruit salads or fresh fruit tarts.

The Orange versions of Pinot Grigio, coming mainly from the Collio Friulano or Slovenia, given their surprising body, softness, and complexity, resulting from long maceration and aging on the skins, have the perfect structure for pairing with desserts with cooked fruit, nuts, and spices.

Our suggestion: Pinot Grigio 'Sialis' Franco Terpin

Pinot Grigio chocolate pairing

While most classic Italian Pinot Grigio wines are too dry and acidic for a match with white chocolate, Orange Pinot Grigio may instead have the right aromaticity and roundness to highlight the vanilla notes of white chocolate and mitigate its buttery sweetness.

Our suggestion: Pinot Grigio 'Not' Paraschos


As with all wines, there are specific rules for creating the perfect pairing with food. This includes ensuring that the flavors are balanced between the wine and the various ingredients, using acidity and juiciness to help offset the fat, and considering the types of cooking used.

Pinot Grigio food pairing makes no difference. But there is one more factor. It is also necessary to consider the difference in style between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris because, despite being the same grape, the resulting wines are very different. Therefore it is essential to identify the style of the wine to evaluate the perfect match.

Here we've given you all the Pinot Grigio pairing food info, but check out our Pinot Gris post for everything else!

Photo by Brett Jordan