Difference Between Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio Wines Explained

By September 3, 2021Wines

There are quite a few differences between the Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio wine, but one wouldn’t be able to recognize that upon first glance. Upon an initial glance at both types of white wines, you will notice that each wine has a very similar color to each other. The similar color and the fact that both of these wines hail from the Burgundy region of France, often tends to confuse people into thinking that they are quite similar to each other with maybe some minor differences. The reality is that these wines may hail from the same region and look almost identical in a wine glass, but they offer two different kinds of experiences when it comes to drinking.

Difference Between Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio Wines Explained

How are They Made?

Pinot Grigio may be a white wine, but what makes it interesting is the fact that the wine is made up of a red grape. Yes, you read that correctly. The Pinot Grigio is a white wine that comes from a mutation that occurs in the red Pinot Noir grape. The grape is only made into a white wine through discarding the skin and pressing the juice inside. This is what ends up producing that pale, golden color that the Pinot Grigio is known for. 

Chardonnay on the other hand is made from a green skinned grape variety that is known to be a blank canvas (aka neutral in flavor). This is what allows many winemakers to manipulate the grape to produce a wide variety of flavors. The wine’s flavors are often truly affected by the oak and the environment as a result. The wine is often fermented in a barrel to give it additional tannins and added structure while throwing in some flavors of toast and spice. 

Flavor Profile of the Pinot Grigio

A Pinot Grigio is often known to be medium to light bodied in color with a dry and acidic taste that leaves behind a smooth and silky texture. The color of a Pinot Grigio can often range from a very pale to a super deep golden color. The actual taste of the Pinot Grigio wine can vary depending on the region and how it is grown, but typically you can expect some common flavors to shine through with this wine such as lemon, green apple, honey, almond, stone fruit, and certain kinds of spices. 

Flavor Profile of Chardonnay

Similar to the color of the Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay also produces a similar golden color. The Chardonnay wine often produces a mineral taste alongside notes of baked apple and tropical fruit. Since environmental conditions greatly affect the flavor of Chardonnay, you can expect flavors to differ depending on which type of climate the grape grew in. If the grape was grown under cooler climates, then the wine tends to take on a more citrus flavor while warmer climates tend to yield a sweeter and less acidic flavor. Secondary flavors can also shine through with this wine and this often results from the kind of oak that the wine is fermented in. Some common secondary flavors include coconut, vanilla, and baking spices. 

The Verdict

In other words, these wine types may look the same in a wine glass, but certainly they yield their differences. From how they were made to the flavor profiles they produce, the Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio produce distinct flavors that make them uniquely their own. No matter their differences though, rest assured that you can’t go wrong with either wine. Whether there is a preference for one over the other, that is simply up to you to decide!


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