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  • Writer's pictureMolly Jean

Molly's Meal Match: Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio

Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio is often viewed as a simple grape varietal. It's an easy choice for a glass of wine at a restaurant, or for a quick selection at the grocery store. It's cheap and you know what to expect; which isn't much. They can be less than show stopping...unless you source your sips from the right place. These wines can be far more complex, than the lemon water you became well acquainted with in college. You just have to spend more than $15.00, to taste one.

The difference in the name is an indication of place and winemaking styles. Pinot Gris (France) is more stylistically complex, where as Pinot Grigio (Italy) tends to be more neutral. In the New World, OR and WA have largely adopted Pinot Gris, where as CA, NY, and VA, often label their wines with Pinot Grigio. This is not to say, they cannot be labeled the latter.

PG is such a malleable grape, the influence of terroir and manufacturing practices play a major role on the taste of the wine. This results in diverse wines, ranging in flavors, style and quality. It's best stay away from mass produced wines. Looking for specific regions, will eliminate many of the big box wines and allow you to taste the differences in terroir.

PG wines are typically un-oaked with high acidity, allowing the superior wines to have a cellaring life of 1-5 years. It is also important to know the wines can be made in dry or sweet styles. PG can be complex and surprising - you just have to look for it.

Recommended Regions:

Willamette Valley, OR – Pinot Gris

Alsace, France – Pinot Gris (Richer)

Fiuli, Italy – Pinot Grigio (More Aromatic)

Alto Adige, Italy – Pinot Grigio (More Aromatic)

Mendocino, CA – Pinot Gris

Sonoma, CA – Pinot Gris

Flavors + Aromas: Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio Wines

Primary (grape and alcoholic fermentation): stone fruits, white peach, green fruits, prickly pear, apple, citrus fruits, lemon, tropical fruits, cantaloupe, melon, crushed gravel, pepper, arugula, spice, minerals, white flowers, honeysuckle, petrol, tangerine

Secondary (post-fermentation winemaking): cream

Tertiary (maturation/aging): almond

Oenophile Fact: Unlike, the black skinned grape (Pinot Noir) from which it mutated - the color of grapes in thePG clusters can range from deep bass, to blueish-silver, to light pink and purple.


Grilled Chicken & Peach, Arugula Salad w/

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Palliser Estate Pinot Gris (Martinborough, New Zealand)

Fresh and delicious, this Martinborough Pinot Gris is crisp with pleasant aromas of stone fruit. The wine is off-dry, complimenting the sweetness of the peaches on the salad. The acid in the lemon basil vinaigrette, also keeps the wine tasting sweet and fruity. The wine is a lovely compliment to the flavors on the plate. This is one of my favorite salads, it's refreshing and incredibly simple to make.

Shopping List

Dry Goods:

sliced almonds or pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup quinoa

canned chickpeas

6 tbsp avocado oil

5 tbsp Italian white vinegar

red pepper flakes (to taste)

salt (to taste)

pepper (to taste)

garlic powder (to taste)

Refrigerated Goods:

2 chicken breasts

orange blossom goat cheese (plain goat cheese works too)



peach or nectarine (sliced)

avocado (sliced)

cherry tomatoes (halved)

1/2 cup packed basil

lemon (juiced)

2-3 cloves of garlic


1. Pre-heat to oven 425° or turn the grill to high heat.

2. Season chicken with pepper, salt and garlic powder - to taste.

3. Cook chicken for 25-30 minutes, flipping 1/2 way through if cooking on the grill.

4. Meanwhile, put 1/2 cup of quinoa and 1 cup of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to low for 15 minutes.

5. In a blender, mix avocado oil, Italian white vinegar, red pepper flakes, pinch of salt, garlic cloves, basil, and juiced lemon - blend until smooth. The dressing will separate as it sits, shake well before putting on your salad.

6. A few minutes before the chicken is done, grill the peach slices or warm them in a pan on the stove.

7. Pull the chicken and slice into bite size pieces.

8. Build your salad.

quinoa>arugula>cherry tomatoes>almond slices>goat cheese>avocado>grilled peaches>grilled chicken>lemon basil vinaigrette


Italian Shrimp over Zoodles

Armani Pinot Grigio (Friuli, Italy)

These Italian shrimp are prepared in a garlic, lemon butter sauce with a hint of red pepper. They can be served over zoodles, noodles, or on their own. They pair deliciously with this Pinot Grigio from Friuli. The wine is bright and minerally. The slight oiliness on the palate compliments the wine's aromas of lemon, peach, and wet stone.

Oenophile Facts: Pinot Grigio from Italy are often the lowest in quality. Many of the Pinot Grigio wines from Italy are mass produced from co-ops and will be a light-lemony wine. However, you can find delicious expressions of Pinot Grigio from Northern Italy. Look for the Friuli and Alto Adige regions - avoid the Veneto region.

Shopping List

Dry Goods:

pinch of salt

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tbsp of avocado oil

Refrigerated Goods:

1 lb of shrimp or prawns

2/3 cup of butter


lemon (juiced and 1/2 tsp zest)

2 tbsp of green onions (finely chopped)

1/4 cup of parsley

5 cloves of minced garlic

2 large zucchini


1. Spiralize the zucchini and set aside (you can use regular noodles if you prefer).

2. Shell the shrimp (I remove the tail).

3. In a large frying pan, melt putter over medium heat.

4. Stir in onion, oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt; cook until it bubbles.

5. Add shrimp to the pan, stir occasionally until they turn pink/begin to curl (about 3-5 min).

6. Add in lemon zest, parsley, red pepper flakes, and spiralized zucchini. Ensure the zucchini is evenly tossed in the butter sauce. Remove from heat.

7. Serve warm with lemon wedges for garnish and additional acid.


Alsatian Onion Tart

Anne de K Pinot Gris (Alsace, France)

This wine is dynamic and refreshing. Aromas of candied peaches and sweet apples on the nose, are followed by flavors of prickly pear on the palate. It has some residual sugar, but it is balanced by the wine's high acidity. This tart is a quick and delicious recipe, perfect for an appetizer or brunch addition. The easy-to-make dough, works as a vehicle for the creamy spread, onions and bacon to get in your belly. Warm and crispy, this tart has a good amount of salt and fat to ease the acidity in the wine.

Oenophile Facts: The most notable region for Pinot Gris in France, is Alsace. The wines are complex, crisp and have a unique spice quality. Grapes from this region are also susceptible to botrytis - a fungus that grows on the grapes causing them to begin to raisin. This concentrates the fruit flavors and adds a honeyed sweetness to the wine.

Shopping List

Dry Goods:

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 3/4 cups of flour (do not attempt to use almond flour)

1 tsp baking powder

Refrigerated Goods:

2 egg yolks

1/2 lb bacon (finely chopped)


1 sweet onion thinly sliced


1⁄2 cup sour cream

1 cup of cream cheese (room temp)

On hand:

1 tsp of salt

3 tsp avocado oil

salt & pepper (to taste)


1. Place pizza stone in oven and pre-heat oven to 500°

2. In a large pan, cook the bacon. When finished to desired crispness, transfer to a paper towel lined plate - set aside to crumble for toppings.

3. Mix cream cheese, sour cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a bowl, set aside.

4. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the center.

5. In another bowl, whisk oil, yolks and water together. Pour into the well, in the flour mixture bowl. Stir together until gently, until a dough begins to form.

6. Flip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough.

7. Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Roll into a 12'' circle on a separate parchment paper. It will become very thin, it will rise slightly when cooked.

8. Spread cream/cheese mixture on top of the dough (like you are topping a pizza), add sliced onions and bacon bits.

9. Transfer the dough to the pizza stone, while still on the parchment paper.

10. Bake for about 8 minutes, until lightly browned.


Coconut Shrimp w/ a Lemon Honey Drizzle & Chipotle Aioli

Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley, Oregon)

I am so proud of myself for making coconut shrimp! It's one of my favorite dishes and it was surprisingly simple to make. It's similar to how you would fry anything else, just with a bit of freezing time before hitting the oil. The lemon honey drizzle and Chipotle Aioli are the delicious dipping choices for the shrimp. The wine compliments the dish with aromas of lemon and orange blossoms, and flavors of stone fruit with a slight effervescence on the tongue. It is a unique and unexpected Pinot Gris, that tastes far above its price range!

Oenophile fact: Oregon Pinot Gris is similar to the styles of Northern Italy and Alsace, France.

Shopping List

Dry Goods:

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups of flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 cups shredded coconut

canola oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp chipotle chili powder

salt and pepper (to taste)

1/2 cayenne pepper

Refrigerated Goods:

2 large eggs (whisked)

1 lb shrimps or pawns

1 cup of mango


1 tsp lemon zest

1 lemon juiced

1 lime juiced

1 habanero chili (seeded)


1. Peel shrimp, keep the tails in tact.

2. In a small pan on medium high, combine honey, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and dash of pepper. Bing to a simmer, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup of flour, salt and pepper. In another bowl whisk together eggs, 1 cup of water, baking powder, and 1 cup of flour. In a third bowl mix together panko and coconut shavings.

4. Dredge shrimp in the four mixture, to egg batter (allow excess to drip off), to coconut mixture.

5. Place the shrimp flat on wax paper lined baking sheet (plates work too) and put in freezer for 30 minutes.

6. In a blender, mix mango, lime juice, chipotle chili powder, pinch of salt, cayenne, paprika, habanero chili, and mayo. Blend until smooth.

7. Pour oil about 3 inches deep in a large pot. Heat oil to about 325°, test it with a pinch of flour - if it sizzles, it is ready for your shrimp.

8. When the oil is ready, work in batches of about 5 shrimp, fry until golden brown (3 - 4 minutes). Remove the shrimp and put them on a paper towel lined plate, to drip off excess oil.

9. Drizzle with the honey on the shrimp, serve with small bowls of aioli and the remaining honey sauce for dipping.


I hope you enjoyed learning about Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio and checking out these pairing suggestions. If you have feedback, comments, or questions please feel free to comment below, post to The Wine Tails Facebook Page, or message me on Instagram.

Thank you Wine Simple, Wine for Normal People, The Wine Bible, and Wine Folly for providing me with amazing research materials. Follow along with The Wine Tails Pinterest page to see what gets me motivated and gives me inspiration for these pairings.

Cheers and happy sipping!

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