Your version of Internet Explorer is not supported. Update your browser for a faster and more secure browsing experience.
Want your delivery before Christmas? Check the cut-off dates

Wine

Pinot Gris vs Grigio: What’s the difference?

difference between pinot gris vs pinot gris

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same grape variety, so what's the difference? We talk to some passionate Pinot G winemakers to find out.

While it's fast becoming one of Australia's most popular varieties, PinotGris/Grigio still presents a point of confusion for many wine-lovers.

Made from one variety, a member of the Pinot Noir family, this grape has two different names thanks to the two countries in which it is most commonly grown: France and Italy.

Gris is French for "grey" and in France it finds its home in the Alsace region. French Pinot Gris is generally known for being a rich, full-bodied white with a lovely silky texture.

Grigio is the Italian for "grey" and in contrast to the French, Italian Grigio has made a name for being a light, crisp wine ideal for early drinking and is most famously known in the regions of Veneto and Friuli.

Across the two styles, the common aroma and flavour descriptors include apple, pear, strawberry, honey, hay, brioche and bread.

Aussie home

Quealy first Australian Pinot GrisThe variety was first introduced to the Hunter Valley with the James Busby collection of 1832, however it wasn't until the 1990s that the variety started to really emerge. This was thanks to a winemaking couple who made their home on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula in 1988: Kathleen Quealy and Kevin McCarthy.

Having been introduced to Pinot Gris at college, Kathleen felt intuitively that they had come to the perfect region for producing the variety. They released their first commercial Pinot Gris in 1993, have had huge success since, and are now seen as setting the benchmark for Australian interpretations of the variety.

Following in their footsteps is their son, Tom, a winemaker at Quealy wines who has inherited his parents' passion for Pinot G. What's more, he's been to the homes of both the Gris and Grigio styles.

"I have worked vintages at Domain Paul Blanck in Alsace, where Pinot Gris is 1 of 4 premium varieties", he explains. "Their vineyards define the quality and the personality of each of their wines. They revel in the power and voluptuousness of these wines, from bone dry with the generous dollop of extract in the middle palate, to off dry with enough flavour and structure to make the wine balanced and suitable with a main course. They are able to make and market their even richer sweeter late harvest styles. The wines are beautiful to drink, slightly drying out with a few years bottle age, and suit their dishes of duck and pork.

"I have also worked and spent time in Friuli. Their lighter soils and their food culture define their Pinot Grigio style: crunchy pear, dry and textured. The winemaking art of blending abounds. There are field blends and regional blends of many white varieties, with Pinot Grigio a central component."

Mornington magic

Mornington Peninsular Pinot Gris factsBack home, Tom explains the Mornington Peninsula's superior suitability for Pinot G down to a combination of regional factors. "It's the climate - cool, maritime, Indian summers. It's the cloud cover and sea breezes. The Red Hill and Main Ridge flank creates intimate valleys of rich volcanic soils that hold onto the rainfall. The dryland farming keeps each berry and bunch tiny and concentrated. Then there's a winemaking fraternity reared on Pinot Noir and now applying these skills to their love child Pinot Gris."

Adelaide Hills excellence

Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio Wicks EstateAnother standout Aussie Pinot G producer is Wicks Estate in the Adelaide Hills, where, Tim Wicks, explains, "The cool evenings promote great acid retention in the fruit, along with a gradual flavour ripeness without excess phenolic development. This allows the variety to retain a charming aromatic lift which combines beautifully with the subtle textural elements."

At Wicks Estate, they make a Gris rather than a Grigio, but as Tim describes, it may be akin to the Gris style, but it maintains a hint of the Grigio aromatics and racier acid lines. This is reflective of the Gris-Grigio overlap that Tim sees as common in Australia.

"We have countless fantastic wines that tend towards either the richer Gris characters or lighter aromatic Grigio characteristics. There are also wines that exhibit traits of both, take our Wicks Estate Pinot Gris, for example. We like the sharpened focus and aromatic style of the Grigio, but tend to lean towards the textural qualities of Gris on the palate. The styles have their own identity, however, we have diverse terroir and climate in Australia that can lend itself to a hybrid style."

The proof is in the tasting

At the end of the day, whether you go for a richer Gris or a zestier Grigio, or a mix of both, only your palate can decide. To help you choose, we've got an extensive range from the Mornington Peninsula, Adelaide Hills and beyond to explore .

Explore Australian Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio

Primo Estate Pinot Grigio 2016

  • RegionFleurieu
  • Order codePRIMO21016
RRP: $19.00
Qty Bottle(s)
Your Price: $193.80
Add to carta

Reillys Pinot Gris 2016

Not only are Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills home to some of our country’s greatest Rieslings, but they also produce equally drinkable Pinot G.
  • RegionAdelaide Hills
  • Order codeREILL21016
RRP: $25.00
Qty Bottle(s)
Your Price: $255.00
Add to carta

Lisa McGuigan Pinot Gris 2015

Fruit was sourced from the high altitude and cool climate region of Orange to create this progressive Pinot Gris from Lisa’s platinum collection.
  • RegionOrange
  • Order codeLISAM21015
RRP: $30.00
Qty Bottle(s)
Your Price: $306.00
Add to carta

Bundeena Bay Vineyard Series Pinot Grigio 2015

  • RegionSea Multi-Regional
  • Order codeBUNDE21015
RRP: $21.00
Qty Bottle(s)
Your Price: $214.20
Add to carta

Shadowfax Pinot Gris 2015

Another terrific growing season in Victoria?s Geelong region produced fantastic results in 2015 like the Shadowfax Pinot Gris that was crafted using fruit from the Longest View and Sutherlands Creek vineyards.
  • RegionGeelong
  • Order codeSHADO21015
RRP: $24.00
Qty Bottle(s)
Your Price: $244.80
Add to carta

Wicks Estate Pinot Gris 2016

  • RegionAdelaide Hills
  • Order codeWICKS21016
RRP: $20.00
Qty Bottle(s)
Your Price: $204.00
Add to carta

Tomich Woodside Vineyard Pinot Grigio 2016

  • RegionAdelaide Hills
  • Order codeTOMIC21016
RRP: $25.00
Qty Bottle(s)
Your Price: $255.00
Add to carta

Swinging Bridge Pinot Gris 2016

Swinging Bridge puts the beauty of its wines, including this soft Pinot Gris, down to the soils, geology, rainfall and sunlight hours of the Orange region.
  • RegionOrange
  • Order codeSWING21016
RRP: $20.00
Qty Bottle(s)
Your Price: $204.00
Add to carta