One of the biggest similarities between these two popular white wines is their versatility! Depending on where and how it’s made, two glasses of Chardonnay can taste very different. And depending on where it is made, two glasses of Pinot Grigio not only taste different, they may also have a completely different name! These dry white wines have a lot in common, but if you want to know all the little nuances between pinot grigio and chardonnay, read on!
Next time you’re going out for dinner and don’t know what to order or are wondering what to bring to a dinner party, I’ve got you covered!
Pinot Grigio vs. Chardonnay Flavor Comparisons
Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio have a lot in common, so it’s important to ask yourself a few key questions! For example, do you prefer light wines or do you prefer full-bodied wines? Or how dry do you like your wine? And of course, what are you planning to eat? If you don’t have all the answers to these questions yet, don’t worry!
I always recommend using these guides as a starting point before doing a taste test for yourself!
What does pinot grigio taste like?
This light white wine is most often described as zesty, fruity and refreshing! It’s a big crowd puller and will keep you satisfied on a hot summer day! Although flavors can vary depending on where you grow it, notes you might pick up in your glass include lemon, melon, peach, almond, honey, and yellow apple.
No matter where it’s made, you can generally expect Pinot Grigio to be light and acidic. Pinot grigios from northern Italy are crisp, refreshing and easy to drink, and pinot gris (that’s what a French-made pinot grigio is called) typically made in Alsace is known for being a little richer and fuller-bodied. The reason for this is that it is made from more ripe grapes.
A fun fact you might want to bring to a dinner party? Due to their unique greyish hue, Pinot Grigio grapes are believed to be a mutation of the popular Pinot Noir grape!
How does Chardonnay taste?
It is difficult to characterize the taste of Chardonnay as it is such a versatile wine. It depends on Where it’s made – which includes wine regions around the world, as it’s not a temperature-sensitive grape – and How is ready, one Chardonnay can taste very different from the other!
It is best known as a dry, fruity and full-bodied white wine. It is also acidic and has a high alcohol content. The dominant flavors you may be able to detect in your glass are yellow and green apple, pineapple, star fruit and lemon.
When enjoying a Chardonnay aged in oak, you may also notice the creamy or buttery quality of the wine. Wines aged in oak casks take on a rich vanilla flavor or creamy mouthfeel as the tannins in the wine interact with the soft wooden tannins of the toasted cask. Californian Chardonnay, for example, is typically heavily woody.
If you enjoy a cool climate Chardonnay (think Australia, New Zealand and Chile to name a few) it will have more acidity and citrus notes!