Pinot Grigio is one the most abundantly drunken white wines in the world. It’s prized for its light, dry, moderately acidic and crisp body with notes of tree, citrus and tropical fruit. Additionally, Pinot Grigio often has refreshing and elevated acidity, allowing the wine to pair well with and accentuate flavors best present in fish and shellfish.
While Old World Pinot Grigio tends to be more citrus & stone fruit dominant (think Northern Italy), New World Pinot Grigio (think San Joaquin Valley) tends to pack more tropical, stone & tree fruit flavors. But it’s not just terroir related factors that play a role in a Pinot’s flavor. Ripeness is actually a more crucial determinant. Grapes that are underripe will yield more citrus, while ripe to overripe grapes yield more tropical and tree fruit flavors.
Best Pinot Grigio Food Pairings & Recipes
Pairing Fish with Pinot Grigio
My favorite thing to eat with Pinot Grigio is sushi, but that’s for good reason. It goes well with food items that have a soft and crisp consistency. Nothing too heavy. If raw fish isn’t your thing, there are plenty of great options. White fish works best. Grilled Chilean sea-bass ranks high, followed closely by pan-seared grouper, snapper, mahimahi, red fish, tilapia and flounder. Try to find the freshest sea food you can. Every time I stop by South Florida I’ll stop by the docks and buy a few filets from the charter boats around sunset. Snag a bottle of Pinot Grigio on your way home and you’ve got it made.
If you’re a fan of shell fish, oysters, both raw or fried, and Grilled scallops are your two best bets. Try utilizing ginger, oregano, thyme, cracked white and black pepper, parsley and garlic as you prepare your dishes. Don’t forget the lemon & lime! Better yet, marinate your fish with a little bit of Pinot as well.
Our Favorite Fish & Shellfish Recipes for Pinot Grigio Pairings
- Mahimahi Tacos with Cilantro and Mango-poblano Salsa
- Pan-seared Grouper in a Meyer-lemon Mojo Sauce
- Grilled Red Snapper Doused in Soy Ginger Sauce
- Florida Oyster Rockefeller
- Pan Seared Lemon Tilapia with Parmesan Pasta Recipe
Pairing Chicken with Pinot Grigio
Chicken is the best backup food to pair with Pinot Grigio. I may be a little bias — I love the ocean. But regardless, chicken is a great choice because of its texture and soft flavor. It’s light on the palate, and if marinated with either lemon and or white wine, it becomes a remarkable pairing. Lighter cream based sauces and lemon also make for an ideal summer meal with a crisp white. See below for our favorite Pinot Grigio chicken pairings & recipes.
- Chicken Frances with Lemon Sauce
- Chicken Alfredo Pasta
- Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Sage, Garlic, Rosemary and Olive Oil
- Parmesan Crusted Roasted Chicken Recipe
Cheese & Pinot Grigio
Keep thinking soft and mild. Cow’s milk is about as mild as you can get. It helps to bring out some of the sweeter flavors in Pinot Grigio (Brie, Gruyere, Mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano). The next step up is sheep milk. I’ve found that sheep’s milk tends to help accentuate the more earthy and mineral tones of a Pinot (Sheep’s milk Gouda, Roquefort, Manchego, Fleur du Marquis, Etorki).
Pinot Grigio Pairing Appetizer Ideas
Looking for a few simplistic and fresh appetizers to pair with a glass of Pinot Grigio? Check out some of our favorites below.
- Sesame-Soy Grilled Shrimp with Avocado on Cucumber Slices
- Artichoke, Asparagus & Fennel Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
- Fresh Mozzarella & Basil on Caprese Toasts
- Fried Oyster Garlic Aïoli, Habanero Salsa, Cilantro, Wonton Nachos
Do you have a favorite food pairing with Pinot Grigio? Share your unique ideas with the community below. We’d love to try them ourselves!