Chardonnay is undoubtedly the most famous white wine variety across the world. You may not love it, but you have surely tasted it or at least, heard of it. Pinot Grigio (also known as Pinot Gris) belongs to the Pinot family, and over the course of the last few years, has made its mark on the Aussie wine industry. Both of these being leading white wine grapes produce dry whites, so it is important to know the differences the two exhibit –
The most obvious difference between these two varieties is the colour of the grape skin. The Chardonnay grape is a green-skinned fruit. Pinot Grigio grapes mostly feature a grayish-blue hue, but can also feature a brownish-pink, black or even pale white colour.
It is interesting to note that both these famous white grapes originated in the Burgundy region of France. During the Middle Ages, the Pinot Gris grape was probably known by the name Fromenteau.
Aussie Wine Regions
Chardonnay wine styles from hot regions are usually crafted in the Riverland wine region, while cool-climate Chardy wines originate in Southern Highlands, Victoria & Tasmania. The Adelaide Hills and Yarra Valley regions are known for the production of Burgundian-style Chardonnay varietals.
Pinot Grigio wines come from a number of places in Australia – Adelaide Hills, Orange, Mornington Peninsula, New South Wales, Yarra Valley & Tasmania.
Chardonnay wines generally feature a dry, bold & full-bodied palate. Pinot Gris wines, on the other hand, though are dry as well, but are light-bodied and zesty in nature.
Chardonnay wines exhibit various fruit characters, most common of which are apple, starfruit, pineapple and melon. Since these wines usually undergo oak-ageing, Chardonnay wines can taste of butter, cream or vanilla. If you pick up an unoaked Chardonnay, these buttery & creamy notes will not be present in the wine.
Pinot Grigio wines exhibit fruity & tangy fragrances, with citrus being the main ingredient in the wine. Apple & pear flavours also make up the palate of this delicious wine.
Set out to buy a bottle of each of these 2 wines, and put your senses to the test identifying the distinctions between Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay.