This is our comparison of Riesling vs Pinot Grigio wine. We’ve extensively researched these two popular wines to help you pick the best for you.
Wine Selection Overview
Find below our Riesling vs Pinot Grigio wine selection for you where you’ll find our recommendation for you.
Hans Baer Riesling Trocken 2020
If you are after a great dry, light and refreshing German Riesling for a very good price, you’ve just found it!
It’s pretty popular amongst the Vivino’s community too, and for a very good reason!
Nik Weis Selection Urban Riesling
Dr. L Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
Spätlese Riesling or late harvest, comes with more concentrated and riper lemon, lime and peach flavors than Kabinett.
This one has a lively minerality, along with a delicate and crisp acidity that perfectly balances the bright white peach and lemon fruit.
Pinot Grigio Selection
Cielo e Terra
It has straw yellow with green reflections.
It has bread crust and green apple. It has fresh and drinkable, perfect on a hot day.
You’ll find it for less than $10. That’s a pretty good value for money if you ask me!
This wine has a straw yellow color, intense, with slight notes of nutmeg, peach leaf broken citrus. Dry and cool.
Net ripe and fruity scents, all the orange zest, full flavor fills the long mouth.
Ah, it cost less than $20… I’ll be quick if I were you.
Vie di Romans - Dessimis Pinot Grigio 2019
This is not the usual Pinot Grigio and it will blow you away.
“Delightful Pinot Grigio, easily the best I’ve had to date” says Chiara & Philippe from the Vivino community.
Copper-colored from the natural grape skin tint. The bouquet is full of sweet pastry aromas, scents of Williams pear skin, and notes of yellow fruit.
Expect a medium-body wine with complex oak, pear, peach, and honey notes.
Let’s now take a closer look at the difference between Riesling vs Pinot Grigio so that you’ll have enough details to make an informed decision.
#1 - Riesling vs Pinot Grigio: Regions & Styles
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Riesling vs Pinot Grigio from regions and wine styles points of view.
- The two primary features of a German Riesling is that it’s almost always produced in purity, i.e. no blending, and it’s rarely aged in oak.
German Riesling is also produced at level of sweetness.
- French Riesling, or better Alsace AOC, has a higher alcohol content, usually 12%, than the German style and it’s dry. It is more rounded thanks to its ageing in steel tank or oak barrel.
Find out more about the other Riesling styles here.
Cool climates help Pinot Grigio grow at its best and mature relatively early causing high sugar levels.
Depending on the vinification style, this can lead to either a wine high in alcohol if fermented to dryness, or a sweeter wine.
Minerally and Dry Pinot Grigio is primarily from the northern part of Italy and precisely Lombardia, Trentino Alto Adige, and Veneto.
Fruity and Dry Prinot Grigio is primarily from Italy (north-east Italy, Toscana, Abruzzo, and Sicilia, USA (California, Oregon, and Washington), and New Zealand.
Fruity and Sweet Pinot Gris is primarily from Alsace in France.
Read this article do find more about Pinot Grigio.
#2 - Riesling vs Pinot Grigio: Grapes
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Riesling vs Pinot Grigio from a grape point of view.
Riesling is made with Riesling grape.
Pinot Grigio is made with Pinot Grigio grape.
#3 - Riesling vs Pinot Grigio: Taste Profile
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Riesling vs Pinot Grigio from a taste profile point of view.
Riesling is produced in a variety of styles and at all level of sweetness. Find out more here.
Expect high acidity, light to full body, dry to sweet and an ABV that ranges between 10%-12%.
Typical notes for just-ripe grapes are green and citrus fruit, i.e. apple, pear, lemon and lime.
For ripe grapes you should expect stone and tropical fruit, i.e. peach, apricot, mango and pineapple.
If you happen to perceive gasoline as well, don’t worry as it’s actually pretty normal for aged and high quality Riesling.
Pinot Grigio (minerally and fruity style) it’s known for its dryness, high acidity, light-body, lemon, and apple notes.
Pinot Gris (Alsace) on the other hand has more body, lower acidity, more complexity, and is sweeter.
Here is a brief overview of Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris typical flavors:
- Pinot Grigio Minerally and Dry: apple, lemon zest, mineral.
- Pinot Grigio Fruity and Dry: apple, lemon, white peach, pear, creamy.
- Pinot Gris Fruity and Sweet: sweet lemon candy, honey, ginger, spice, ripe pear.
#4 - Riesling vs Pinot Grigio: Sweetness Level
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Riesling vs Pinot Grigio in terms of sweetness level or residual sugar.
The sweetness level of a wine is expressed in grams of sugar per liter, aka g/L, or as a percentage.
10 g/L equals 1% which, if you are interested, represents 6 calories per 5 oz serving.
You will usually find Riesling produced at all level of sweetness from dry to sweet.
On the other side you can find Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris in various sweetness levels, that goes from dry to sweet.
- A dry wine contains less than 15 g/L.
- An off dry wine contains between 15-30 g/L.
- A sweet wine contains between 50-100 g/L.
Learn more about wine sweetness level here.
#5 - Riesling vs Pinot Grigio: Food Pairings
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Riesling vs Pinot Grigio from a food pairings point of view.
Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris pairings depend on the style.
Pinot Grigio goes well with salad and salty foods like french fries and salty olives. Chicken, shellfish, and grilled fish are common pairings.
Cheese wise go with soft (Philadelphia) and creamy (Brie) cheese for the minerally version. Semi-soft (Fontina) and firm (Beaufort) for the fruity version.
Pinot Gris pairs well with stronger flavors like foie gras, cream sources, grilled vegetables, reach veal, pork, and meaty fish.
Cheese wise go for blue mold and hard cheese like Gorgonzola and Pecorino.
#6 - Riesling vs Pinot Grigio: Serve & Store
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Riesling vs Pinot Grigio in terms of serving and storing the wine.
Riesling doesn’t need to be decanted. Serve it at 43 – 46 °F (6 – 8 °C) in a Viognier glass for non dessert wine or a Fortified glass for dessert wine.
The recommended storage period is up to 10+ years.
Pinot Grigio shouldn’t be decanted. The service temperature and the storing period depend on the style.
For Minerally and Fruity Pinot Grigio serve at 45 – 50 °F (7 – 10 °C) in a Pinot Grigio or Viognier glass.
The recommended storing period is 2-3 years for normal bottles.
For Pinot Gris off-dry serve at 45 – 50 °F (7 – 10 °C) in a Pinot Grigio or Viognier glass. For Pinot Gris, sweet serve at 43 – 56 °F (6 – 8 °C) in a Fortified glass.
#7 - Riesling vs Pinot Grigio: Price Comparison
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Riesling vs Pinot Grigio from a price comparison point of view.
Let’s start by saying that both wines are affordable.
For Riesling you’ll find good entry level bottle between $10-$20.
Great bottles will generally be around $30-$50 and outstanding bottles and usually ice wine, spätlese and auslese can go up to $100.
For those of you who are after the luxury segment be prepared to spend several $100s.
Pinot Grigio is an affordable wine. The price generally ranges from $10 – $30. Where $10 is usually the IGT Italian style and $30 the Alsatian style.
If you have been through the guide, by now you are a Riesling vs Pinot Grigio expert!
Both Riesling and Pinot Grigio are great wines and by now you should have a good idea of what to expect from them.
Our recommendation is therefore based on what you’d fancy the most at a particular given moment or event.
Are you after the freshness and variety of sweetness that Riesling can offer?
Our recommendation for Best Value Riesling is Nik Weis Selection Urban Riesling and for Best Overall is Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2019.
You cannot resist the crispiness and lightness of a Pinot Grigio, can you?
Our recommendation for Best Value Pinot Grigio is Italo Cescon Pinot Grigio.
If you are after something special, our recommendation for Best Overall bottle is Vie di Romans – Dessimis Pinot Grigio 2019.
As always make sure to serve them at the right temperature to enjoy them at their best.