Three Styles of Italian Pinot Grigio

While Pinot Grigios have common characteristics, not all glasses are alike.

When you’re out with friends and order a glass of Pinot Grigio, you know exactly what you’re going to get, right? A crisp, refreshing white that’s amazing on its own and even better with food. Absolutely. Yet, not all Pinot Grigio are alike.

There’s no better way to taste and compare the subtle and delicious differences than to do a side-by-side sip off between three Italian Pinot Grigio from Ecco Domani (named No. 1 by the glass and bottle in restaurants, according to Winemetrics On Premise Report), DaVinci and Maso Canali. Each of these may share the same gorgeous look in the glass – the pale straw shade that practically sparkles in your stemware – but pay attention and you’ll notice variations between these best-selling wines.

You might have come across the term terrior when learning about wine. That’s a French word for soil and a whole lot more. It’s meant to give wine lovers a clue about the way the grapes were grown. If you want to impress a bunch of seasoned wine drinkers, say: “This wine is expressive of its terrior.” (Pronounced tear (like ripping paper) wore, but let those r’s roll off your tongue.)

One thing these lovely wines have in common is the grapes used to make them are all from one of the most beautiful growing regions in the world. Yes, all wine growers think their terrior is tops, but the mountainous vineyards of Trentino-Alto Adage are stunning. The long summer days and cool nights makes for grapes that have intense flavor and just the right amount of acidity, which is a good thing. Think about the crisp snap of a juicy apple. That’s the role acidity plays in a Pinot Grigio, adding balance and depth to the wine.

When trying to detect the differences and similarities between the three styles of Pinot Grigio, don’t just take a sip and swallow. First, let your nose lead the way, taking a long, deep sniff.

Ecco Domani’s Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio has light citrus and delicate floral aromas with tropical fruit flavors and a crisp and refreshing finish. It pairs well with grilled pork and a wide variety of fish dishes, but also complements spicy fare like Thai curry.

The Da Vinci delle Venezie IGT Pinot Grigio has delicate floral aromas. Then, on the palate, it opens with flavors of apple, tropical fruit and citrus notes, followed by a touch of minerality and a lively/crisp acidity. The wine has a bit of Chardonnay in the blend, which adds a little bit of richness. This Pinot Grigio makes a perfect partner for classic pasta creations such as carbonara, or in the summer months, a rotini salad featuring seasonal veggies.

The Maso Canali Pinot Grigio might remind you of citrus, but there’s a richness, too. This well-balanced, full-flavored wine has hints of nectarine that develop thanks to the tradition of rack drying some of the grapes after they’re harvested, a tradition that dates back many years. A roasted chicken makes this elegant wine shine.

If you’re like a lot of wine fans, you might want to write down your impressions. Maybe start a tasting notes journal, to remind you of what you like. You could even note what food paired best with your favorites. That’s another thing these Pinot Grigio have in common: They all make for perfect partners alongside all sorts of dishes, from spicy Thai curry to sushi and, yes, even to the down home dish showing up on four-star menus, fried chicken.