Italian Pinot Grigio pairs up best with light dishes such as Clams, Fish, Prosciutto, Sushi, Chicken Alfredo, Salad, Lemon Chicken, and Antipasto. Italian Pinot Grigio is a dry white wine with high acidity and mellow flavours of pear, citrus and mineral.

Pinot Grigio is made all across the world, like Australia, California and Canada and I highly recommend you try them all!  However, if you want a popular style of Pinot Grigio, you’ll want something from Italy, such as Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio.

In my opinion, Pinot Grigio is the ‘light beer’ of the wine world as it offers very little in the way of flavour or flair.  This is not a bad thing at all!  As food and wine enthusiasts we are hunting down the most flavourful and expressive wines and dishes.  Yet 90% of the time what we really need is a wine that is refreshing, doesn’t get in the way, and highlights all the amazing flavours of the food we are eating.  Pinot Grigio is this wine!

Best Pinot Grigio Food Pairings

Sushi & Pinot Grigio Pairing

With Sushi comes variety, and the laid back and chill nature of Pinot Grigio is fantastic with a fun and lively night out with friends and enjoying fresh Sushi. Since Pinot Grigio is crisp and light, it won’t overpower the Sushi flavours. Instead, the acidity makes the flavours bounce around in your mouth, so you are able to identify all the unique flavours wrapped up within.

With Sushi, we all have our favourite, such as Dragon Roll, Suzuki, Hamachi, Tempura, or Uni and Pinot Grigio will get along great with all of them. If you want to spread your wings and try something a touch different than Italian Pinot Grigio, give a California Pinot Gris a shot. California Pinot Gris has strong flavours of peach and pear, plus you get a zippy lemon zest hit that makes it wonderful with Sushi.

Pinot Grigio pairs great with non-sushi fish dishes, such as Smoked Salmon, Grilled Halibut, Pike, Grouper, and Tuna Fish Sandwiches.

With Pinot Grigio being such a crowd-pleaser, you’ll be certain to find it by the glass or bottle at any Sushi restaurant that serves wine. Should you live in California, a local Pinot Gris should be accessible as well.

Folonari Pinot Grigio

Seafood Pasta & Pinot Grigio Pairing

Due to its subtle flavours of peach and pear, along with its minerality, Pinot Grigio loves Seafood Pasta of all types. The mellow flavours of the wine won’t interfere with the tender bits of seafood in the pasta, nor the sauce the pasta is tossed in. The minerality of the wine also complements the sea-breeze flavours of the seafood found within.

Depending on the sauce, other wines will probably go better with your pasta as Seafood Pasta can mean so many different things. With this refreshing wine, you have a good middle-of-the-road wine that can handle nearly anything you throw at it. Thus, if you pasta is middle of the road with its sauce and contains clams, oysters, lobster, squid, or mussels, Pinot Grigio will get along great with it. If your pasta sauce leans towards the extreme side of tomato, cream or garlic, Pinot Grigio will still get along with it (meaning the pairing won’t taste bad where with many other white wines it could), but the pairing won’t wow you over.

Spaghetti alle Vongole & Pinot Grigio Pairing

Spaghetti alle Vongole is an Italian dish of spaghetti with clams and a white wine sauce. Pinot Grigio is excellent wine  pairing with Spaghetti alle Vongole as the wine’s acidity helps cut through the olive oil used in this dish, along the heavy carbohydrate content of the Spaghetti noodles.

Clams are tart and briny in taste, and the refreshing peach, pear and apple flavours of Pinot Grigio swoop in and contrast the saltiness of the clams. Meanwhile, the minerality of Pinot Grigio complements the sea-kissed clam flavours. Light to medium in body, this refreshing wine won’t overpower the delicious clam flavours of your Spaghetti alle Vongole.

Due to the garlic found in Spaghetti alle Vongole, there are better pairings with this dish, however, with Pinot Grigio being incredibly accessible. This means if you’re eating out at a restaurant, you’ll be easily able to order Pinot Grigio by the glass. Or if you are making Spaghetti alle Vongole at home, you’ll be able to find a good quality bottle of Pinot Grigio for an affordable price.

Tossed Green Salad & Pinot Grigio Pairing

Pinot Grigio is a neutral white wine that gets along great with a mixed tossed salad as the wine won’t interfere with all the spring and summer flavours of a fresh salad. High in acidity, Pinot Grigio will make all the individual salad ingredients stand out, so you’ll be able to differentiate the romaine lettuce flavours from any spinach or arugula found within. This lively wine will also make any cheese, egg, chicken or tuna you toss in taste extra delicious, which is important as those ingredients are costing you some coin.

The high acidity of the wine also ensures it will go great with any vinaigrette style dressings. White wines that contain tannin (wines aged in Oak, like Chardonnay) taste awful when paired up with acidic condiments, and with Pinot Grigio, you won’t find any acidity to clash with the vinegar in your dressing.

Pinot Grigio is an excellent wine pairing with Greek Salad, and a wide variety of other salads due to the wine’s dry, light and crisp flavours.

Easter Ham & Pinot Grigio Pairing

Italian Pinot Grigio is the perfect white wine to bring to a Holiday dinner serving Ham, such as Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas. Since Pinot Grigio is crisp and fruity, it’s refreshing against the saltiness of the Ham. The salt content of the Ham also helps bring out the citrus, pear and apple notes of the Pinot Grigio. Meanwhile, the subtle flavours of smoke and mineral complement the earthy Ham flavours.

Many of the other dishes at your holiday feast, such as turkey, coleslaw, shrimp, cauliflower drizzled in cheese and dinner rolls, will get along great with your glass of wine, and the high acidity of the wine will make all their unique flavours sing! Roast beef will crush your Pinot Grigio, but it won’t make the wine taste off or funky. Roast beef won’t stop the wine from giving you a happy buzz from the alcohol either.

Why is Pinot Grigio a Popular White Wine?

Despite being plain and neutral, Italian Pinot Grigio is a crowd-pleaser. Women, in particular, love Pinot Grigio. I’m not saying this as a negative towards wine or women. Pinot Grigio is just a popular wine that women gravitate to. If you scroll through your Instagram feed where women post their meals or watch Youtube videos where women day drink as they prepare a meal, it’s often Pinot Grigio that they are drinking. In my 30 years of serving wine and bartending, Italian Pinot Grigio was always our best-selling wine among the female crowd. (For men, it was Chardonnay if they were drinking white wine, however, light beer outsold white wine for men in most instances).

What makes Pinot Grigio so popular is the fact that it is so subtle in its approach. You won’t find any offensive or strong flavours in your glass that will make you feel like you are drinking wine. Rather, a sip of Pinot Grigio will put you in your happy place and cool you down after a stressful day of life. Pinot Grigio is also consistent, in that you know what to expect. You’ll never get any weird flavours of petrol, yeast or rancid butter with this wine.

Italian Pinot Grigio is also popular with wine snobs who tend to roll their eyes at everything else. I’m not sure why, as wine snobs always want to outdo one another with obscure wines. It may just be that Italy has been making Pinot Grigio for centuries by skilled and knowledgeable artisans that Italian Pinot Grigio gets a pass. Thus, if you are heading off to a party and are worried about getting judged, have no fear, your wine will be a hit.

How Much Should I Pay for a Bottle of Pinot Grigio?

Because Pinot Grigio is subtle in flavour, don’t be tempted to pay a high price for a bottle. Anything over $25 (from a store, not a restaurant where bottles are marked up two times or more) is far too much for Pinot Grigio. $14, I would say, is the sweet spot for budget and quality.

Where I live, Santa Margherita is the best selling white wine and is the gold standard for Pinot Grigio, however, that also means it’s a bit pricer as you are paying for the brand name. While Santa Margherita always delivers consistent quality, there are other fantastic producers of Pinot Grigio that deliver the goods, which include Lageder, Livio, Felluga, Pighin, Scarpetta, Zenato, Slovenia, Bertani, Bolla, Ecco Domani and Folonari.

What’s the difference between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris?

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same grape. Other countries make their own version of Pinot Grigio, and you’ll also see it called Pinot Gris. Italian Pinot Grigio differs in that the flavours are more subtle, the wine tastes dry (meaning it does not taste sweet) and has higher acidity. The higher acidity is a bonus with food, as acidity of the wine electrifies the flavours of the food, making them more pronounced. Acidity also washes away fats and carbohydrates, which clog up your taste buds.

Pinot Grigio Cheese Pairings

Pinot Grigio pairs best with fresh and creamy cheeses like Brie and Camembert, along with saltier cheeses like Parmesan Reggiano, Feta and Mozzarella. The reason why these cheeses work is that they are mild and they absorb the delicate flavours of Pinot Grigio, allowing you to notice the soft flavours of apple, pear, lemon and melon.  The crisp and lively nature of the wine excels at washing away any salty flavours.

Pinot Grigio also has notes of mineral, stone, and smoke which go great with the saltiness.

The best cheeses to pair with Pinot Grigio will be milder in flavour as strong cheeses like Blue Cheese will smother the delicate flavours of Pinot Grigio.