Written by: Tim Edison

Updated on: January 9, 2023

Ultimate Pinot Grigio Food Pairing Guide [20 Incredible Pairings]

Pinot Grigio food pairing guide

Pinot Grigio is a wine known equally for its crisp green apple acidity as it is for its mouthcoating sweet honey flavor.

Low alcohol and zesty acid make this wine as perfect for pairing with seafood as it is with a good book on the patio. 

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about this wildly popular grape, its tasting profile, regional differences, and of course, all the pairings you can think of!

What Does Pinot Grigio Taste Like?

To build the perfect pairing, let’s dive a little deeper into what you can expect from a chilled bottle of this refreshing white wine.

Pinot Grigio is a typically dry (though sometimes off-dry) white wine with medium to high acidity, usually low alcohol, and light to medium in body.

Unlike most white wines, Pinot Grigio actually comes from a red grape, and in rare cases, can be used to make red and rosé wines

Pinot Grigio’s popularity stems from its versatility and ability to grow in cool and warm climates, each producing a wine with a unique flavor profile.

In cool and moderate climates, it tastes pure with crisp green apple, lemon, and pear flavors. In warmer climates, it is lush with stone fruit, citrus, floral, and honey flavors. 

Pinot Grigio is almost always aged in stainless steel, allowing for a pure expression of the wine with no flavor imparted from oak. 


Italian Pinot Grigio

Italy is the world’s leading producer of Pinot Grigio, where it is mainly grown in the regions of Veneto, Lombardy, and Friuli.

Here you can expect clean, if not simple, Pinot Grigio with flavors of pear, apple, and lemon.


French Pinot Gris

Despite Pinot Grigio’s wild popularity in Italy, its birthplace is in France, where it is known as Pinot Gris.

Primarily grown in Alsace alongside Riesling, this is a warmer climate for Pinot Grigio, making for a wine with riper flavors. 

Expect vibrant floral and stonefruit notes with a delicate minerality and notes of honey following bottle aging


American Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is America’s second leading white grape behind - you guessed it - Chardonnay.

In the warmer climate of California, it produces wines with floral and stonefruit flavors. In the cooler climate of Oregon, it is crisper in taste, with flavors of honeydew and citrus. 


How To Pair Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is a delicate wine with all the makings of an excellent food pairing wine.

With high acidity and low alcohol, this is a safe bet wine that you should always keep in your fridge for a pairing emergency. 


Factors to Consider When Pairing Foods With Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio’s high acidity and low alcohol make it ideal for pairing with delicate, fatty, and or spicy foods. 

With that said, you’ll want to steer clear of red meat and richly flavored dishes such as roasts or stews, as these will overpower the wine.

Instead, stick to meaty fish such as halibut or black bass, along with shellfish and mollusks such as scallops, clams, and oysters.

Pinot Grigio, unlike Sauvignon Blanc, lacks in green flavors. It’s best to avoid dishes rich in herbs, as it will make the wine taste bitter by comparison. 


The Best Pinot Grigio Food Pairings

Now that we’ve covered some do’s and don’ts, it’s time for some good news. Pinot Grigio is a delicious wine with enough regional differences to make it adaptable to many dishes. 

Here are some of the most perfect food pairings for Pinot Grigio wine.


Pinot Grigio Meat Dish Pairings

shrimp scampi cooking in a pan

Shrimp scampi

  • Buttery scallops - To contrast the creaminess of your favorite scallop dish, go with a light and bright Italian Pinot Grigio.
  • Halibut - Meaty but mild-tasting fish will be easily overpowered by boldly flavored wines. A zesty Pinot Grigio from any region will complement halibut without masking its flavor. 
  • Spicy Chicken - Pairing an off-dry Pinot Grigio with spicy chicken will alleviate the palate while also making the wine taste sweeter and fruitier by comparison.
  • Shrimp scampi - The combination of tender shrimp in a buttery white wine and lemon sauce needs a zesty and refreshing wine to pair. Pinot Grigio is the perfect wine for serving and for building your sauce.
  • Sushi - Sushi can be a tricky dish to pair with wine, but Pinot Grigio does an excellent job of balancing the mild flavors and provides a refreshing palate cleanser.


Pinot Grigio Vegetarian Dish Pairings

Italian risotto with truffle

Italian risotto with truffle

  • Risotto - A creamy textured, and deeply flavorful dish such as risotto needs a clean and crisp wine to balance it out. Opt for a French Pinot Gris or Californian Pinot Grigio.
  • Fresh green salad - The combination of fresh and crisp flavors in a salad needs a wine that won’t overpower this delicate dish. A French Pinot Gris will do the job perfectly. 
  • Caprese flatbread - Creamy mozzarella, acidic tomato, and bright basil require a wine that won’t overpower the dish or seem pale in comparison. Keep it local with an Italian Pinot Grigio. 
  • Vegetable tempura - Fried vegetables require a wine capable of cutting through the rich flavor, so opt for a zesty Italian Pinot Grigio.   
  • Thai curry - Fresh herbs and a spicy, creamy curry require a wine that will alleviate spice and cut through a thick sauce. A zesty off-dry Pinot Grigio is the perfect wine for the job.


Pinot Grigio Appetizer Pairings

Prosciutto-wrapped melon

Prosciutto-wrapped melon

  • Fried mac ‘n cheese balls - Possibly the best appetizer of all time, deep fried mac ‘n cheese needs a wine that will add complexity. An aged Pinot Gris with delicate honey notes will pair perfectly.
  • Baba ganoush - An appetizer from Lebanon, baba ganoush combines nutty tahini with roasted eggplant, lemon, and olive oil. This smoky and savory dip needs a wine that will add brightness, so opt for a delicate Oregon Pinot Grigio to pair. 
  • Cauliflower buffalo wings - Crunchy, spicy buffalo wings, whether of the cauliflower variety or not, require a high-acid wine with a subtle sweetness. A French Pinot Gris or off-dry Pinot Grigio will pair best. 
  • Prosciutto-wrapped melon - Delicate yet savory, prosciutto-wrapped melon will benefit from a high-acid, delicately flavored Oregon Pinot Grigio with complementary flavors. 
  • Crab dip - Ridiculously rich and creamy, few wines can handle the task of alleviating a rich dish such as crab dip. Opt for a Pinot Grigio with plenty of zest, such as in Italy or Oregon. 


Pinot Grigio and Cheese Pairings

Feta cheese

Feta cheese

  • Fresh mozzarella - Creamy and mild cheeses can be easily overpowered. Thankfully, they’re perfect for pairing with Pinot Grigio.
  • Goat cheese - A tangy, earthy goat cheese will balance nicely with Pinot Grigio and make the wine taste fruitier by comparison. 
  • Mild cheddar - The salty and nutty flavor of mild cheddar won’t overpower Pinot Grigio but instead will make it taste sweeter and fruitier in comparison.  
  • Manchego - Firm, mild, nutty, and slightly sweet, manchego is an excellent cheese to pair with a lemony and floral French Pinot Gris. 
  • Feta - Such a salty cheese needs a wine with an equal punch to balance, making an off-dry Pinot Grigio the perfect choice. 


Pinot Grigio and Snack Pairings

Hummus

Hummus

  • Fried Chickpeas - Savory, spicy, and rich, all of these components make an off-dry glass of Pinot Grigio the perfect reprieve from a richly-flavored snack. 
  • Fruit display - Pinot Grigio is typically low in alcohol, making it a perfect pairing for a light snack of fresh fruit. The combination of melon, apple, pears, and stonefruit is ideal for accentuating those flavors in a tall glass of Oregon Pinot Grigio. 
  • Mango salsa - Spicy and sweet, this combination is great for pairing with an opposites-attract tart and zesty Pinot Grigio. 
  • Hummus - Typically rich with garlic and oil, hummus is a savory and satisfying dish that will benefit from a contrastingly acidic Pinot Grigio. 
  • Ham and cheese roll-ups - If you had these in your lunchbox, you knew it would be a good day. Pair this rich and savory snack with a refreshing glass of Italian or Californian Pinot Grigio. 


About the Author Tim Edison


Tim started Wine Turtle way back in 2015.
These days he contributes to Wine Turtle (and other renowned wine publications) while continuing his wine education.
Tim's wine of the month is the Coates & Seely Reserve Brut NV (from Hampshire, England).

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