Cassidy on March 27, 2013 1 Comment Many people believe that the names Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio can be used interchangeably, stating that they are the same wine originating from the same grape. Although they are very similar, I think the differences are not only worth mentioning but worth knowing and memorizing. In my personal experience, learning the contrast between these two wines has been the difference between a wine relationship and a wine obsession. Made from the same grape variety, the difference is in the cultivation style. Pinot Grigio was popularized and perfected by the Italians. An Italian Pinot Grigio can be described as light-bodied, crisp, and fresh with light fruit and floral aromas (typically heavier on the fruit aromas). Pinot Gris, on the other hand, originated in the Alsace region of France and whose style has since been perpetuated by New Zealand and the northwestern region of the U.S., namely Oregon. A French, New Zealand or Oregon Pinot Gris can be described as rich, robust, sweet, textured, and at times, spicy with strong floral aromas. As always, wine-food pairings are important. Pinot Grigio is great for seafood or salmon, while Pinot Gris can be paired with chicken dishes, creamy pastas or other slightly heavier foods. If you want to taste the difference for yourself, I believe Ecco Domani to be a reasonably priced prime example of an Italian Pinot Grigio, while I believe A to Z to be a fabulous, well-priced Oregon Pinot Gris. One look of these two wines side-by-side will tell you there are vast differences between the two. The Pinot Grigio is light yellow, almost transparent while the Pinot Gris is a warmer yellow, reminiscent of melted butter. As you can see, the distinction between these two wine varieties could be the difference between a good food pairing and an exquisite food pairing, or in my case, a wine like and a wine love. Because I like a fresh and crisp Pinot Grigio but I love a rich and robust Pinot Gris. I urge you to go forth and explore both of these wines for yourself and I hope you find your own perfect examples of each. When you do, please share them with me here.