Most everyone knows and loves pinot gris (pinot grigio). And while it often ends up being that wine you reach for when you don't know what else to get, a good pinot gris has bright acidity and refreshing citrus that can compete with whatever else is on the shelf. When it comes to pairing pinot grigio with food, it's versatile and can lean in numerous directions. Need some ideas to get started? Here are a few pinot grigio food pairings that will have you reaching for a second bottle in no time.
Overview of Pinot Grigs Flavor Profile
Whether you refer to it as pinot gris or pinot grigio, you're talking about the same grape. This white-fleshed grape actually has dark purple skin and could be mistaken for a bunch of red grapes on the vine. It's characteristically light and bright, with good acidity and bursting with notes of lemon and Meyer lemon.
When grown in cooler climates, it expresses sharper and thinner fruit notes of citrus and granny smith apple, while if ripened in a warmer climate, it leans into fuller fruit characteristics of white nectarine and cantaloupe, perhaps with a hint of acacia or honeysuckle. Riper versions dial the acidity back a notch and become a little more full feeling on the palate. A mid-range or high-quality pinot gris is a dry wine, and while it won't be super aromatic, it will have a palate charged with Anjou pear, almond, and a bit of salinty.
Pinot Grigio Food Pairing Ideas
Pinot gris is great with things like summery grilled vegetables and pan-seared white fish or Chilean sea bass. Its medium to high acidity matches acidic dishes while cutting through richer, fattier foods. Anything fresh and light is likely to pair well with pinot grigio. Foods that are really heavy or heavily spiced will likely overshadow this wine, and it will start to feel washed out. So, stick to more delicate foods.
Pinot Grigio + Fish & Shellfish
The light nature and zippy acidity make this wine a killer match with a plethora of seafood, from crab cakes, to oysters, to grilled sea bass. Whatever protein you decide to go with here, adding a squeeze of fresh lemon and a handful of delicate herbs to finish is key. A fillet of snapper, pan-seared with a healthy knob of butter, finished with capers, fresh lemon, and cilantro is chef's kiss when paired with a glass of sunny pinot gris. An equally delicious match would be a half dozen oysters topped with charred corn and a slurry of chimichurri.
Poultry + Pinot Gris
Keeping it light (and white) with meat is a good idea when it comes to pinot gris pairings. The level of flavor matches the wine's body well without overwhelming the delicate notes. For a summery match, try grilling chicken thighs and tossing them with an herby anchovy laced yogurt sauce off the grill. On a cooler evening, when you want to crank your oven, roasting a whole chicken in a dutch oven with a medley of winter vegetables will pair beautifully with a cold glass of pinot gris.
Pinot Grigio + Pasta and Other Grains
Fresh and herby pasta salads with a good crank of black pepper are great pairing for pinot gris. Try using parsley, tarragon, and chives to bring zip to the dish. Another great match is an emmer salad full of ripe cherry tomatoes, jammy onions, and basil with vinegary dressing. The acidity from the tomatoes and vinegarette plays well with the natural acidity of the wine.
Vegetables + Pinot Grigio
When in doubt, vegetables. Whether raw in salad form, braised, blanched, or roasted, vegetables just work with pinot gris. The fresh and herbaceous notes complement the wine well. Want a dream duo? A platter of grilled zucchini, charred eggplant, and blistered tomatoes with a glass of cold pinot gris is it.
Young, Soft Cow's Cheese + Pinot Gris
Cheese and pinot gris? Yes please. When looking for that perfect match, keep to the milder cheeses with subtle aromas. Younger and softer cow's cheese like brie, camembert, gruyère, and burrata are all good bets. Sheep cheeses like Manchego, marinated feta, and pecorino all pair well too.
Perfect Pinot Gris Food Pairings
A quality pinot gris is truly a glass of sunshine with its zippy lemon, white nectarine, and honeysuckle notes. It's a wine made for the flavors of summer that can transition easily into those shoulder seasons. Whether you are searing scallops or just putting a casual salad together, throw a bottle of pinot gris on ice to make a cheerful pairing.