Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio are dry wines discovered more than 800 years ago. Today, their grapes are grown everywhere, from their origin country of France to New Zealand and the United States. They both have a decent amount of alcohol for white wines. Their flavors are fruity, but they can be oaked to make them taste like vanilla and toast.
What Is Similar About Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio?
Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio are white wines from France. They both have fruity flavors, although the kind of fruit differs. They’re sometimes aged in oak barrels, although this is more common for Chardonnay than Pinot Grigio. The latter is usually “lightly oaked,” which means winemakers try to impart only slight oak influences. This is achieved by aging them in used oak barrels instead of new ones, or sometimes oaked wine is blended with unoaked wine.
Both wines can pair well with seafood like scallops and crab salad. The key to finding a good pairing for them is to think light and steer clear of heavy dishes like steak or meatloaf.
What Is The Difference Between Chardonnay vs. Pinot Grigio?
Pinot Grigio is likely a mutant variety of Pinot Noir, but we don’t know for sure. It’s a French wine known in the Burgundy region since the 1200s. It eventually lost popularity in France around the 1800s because of poor crops. This is perhaps because of France’s unpredictable summers. This grape variety was also being grown in Germany at the time, but they were able to develop clones that produced a more reliable Pinot Grigio crop.
Chardonnay has a reputation of being easy to cultivate. Growing Chardonnay grapes is seen as a rite of passage among wineries. It’s one of the most planted grapes in the world.
Pinot Grigio has a faint taste of honey, but honeysuckle, pear, lime, and green apple are more prominent flavors. On the other hand, Chardonnay tends to have more tropical flavors, especially when made from grapes harvested later in the summer. Pineapple, mango, and papaya are common.
Which One Is Sweeter Or Drier Than The Other?
Both Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio are dry white wines. However, they land somewhere in the middle of “bone-dry” and “off-dry,” which is one step before semi-sweet. Pinot Grigio is technically sweeter and has less sugar than Chardonnay. However, Chardonnay can taste sweeter because it’s less acidic than Pinot Grigio. Overall, there isn’t much of a difference unless you’re familiar with one of the wines.
Which One Has More Alcohol Content?
Pinot Grigio usually has about 11.5 to 13.5 percent ABV. Chardonnay is about the same, but it can have up to 15 percent ABV. They’re both considered medium-bodied wines. This is a fairly high amount of alcohol for white wine. Some wines, especially sweet ones like Moscato, can have as little as 5 percent ABV.
How Do I Choose Between Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio?
To choose between Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, consider the following:
Chardonnay usually has more alcohol than Pinot Grigio.
Chardonnay is drier than Pinot Grigio but may taste sweeter due to the difference in acidity.
Country of Origin
Both wines are decidedly French in origin, but Pinot Grigio grapes greatly diminished in France about 200 years ago. Although they’re still grown there today, the crops are largely clones made by other countries.
Pinot Grigio has flavors like pear and apple. Chardonnay has tropical flavors like mango and pineapple.
Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio are excellent French wines with different flavors, alcohol content, and dryness. Many white wines have a lot of similarities, but these two are somewhat unique because they’re from the same country but have so many differences. Neither wine is inherently better than the other, so try both and see which is your favorite.