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Best pinot grigio taste tested

Published: June 30, 2022 at 4:03 pm
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We round up the best of this versatile dry white wine from New Zealand to Alsace to enjoy with spicy food, seafood, and even in rosé form

For such a familiar grape, pinot grigio is actually quite complicated. On one hand, in Northern Italy it can make oceans of simple, gluggable wine, perfect for drinking nice and cold when the sun comes out. Also known as pinot gris when grown in Alsace, it makes some of the richest, headiest wines in France. Plus, because the skin of pinot grigio grapes have a pinkish tinge, you can even make rosé out of it.

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Like pinot blanc, pinot grigio is a mutation of pinot noir and it’s originally from Burgundy. In Germany it’s known as grauburgunder – grey Burgundian. It also makes highly distinctive wines in Austria, New Zealand, Romania, Hungary and there are some increasingly interesting home-grown ones too.

So whether you want a simple wine for drinking in the sunshine, or something fancy for a special occasion, here are ten pinot grigio bottles that show what a wondrously versatile grape it is.

These bottles have been taste tested by wine writer Henry Jeffreys. Henry is a drinks and wine writer who writes for Master of Malt, and his work has appeared in the The Guardian, The Spectator and The Financial Times. In 2022, he won Best Drink Writer of the Year in the Fortnum & Mason Food & Drink Awards, having previously won the Best Debut Drink Book in 2017 for He is the author of Empire of Booze: British History through the Bottom of a Glass. He’s previously written drinks guides for BBC Good Food, including covering all forms of fizz – from the best cava and best English sparkling wines to finding the best champagne. For more, visit our reviews section and find over 200 practical buyer's guides, taste tests of gin, vodka and more.

Best pinot grigio at a glance

  • Best budget pinot grigio: Specially Selected Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie 2021, £5.49
  • Best pinot grigio for parties: Sorcova pinot grigio 2021, £7.99
  • Best with spicy food: Morrisons The Best pinot gris 2020, £8.95
  • Best English pinot gris: Bolney Estate pinot gris 2020, £19.99
  • Best with seafood: Castello Banfi San Angelo pinot grigio 2021, £18.95
  • Best german wine: Weingut Jülg Kalkmergel grauburgunder trocken 2019, £12.50
  • Best Italian pinot grigio: Puiattino pinot grigio 2020, £10
  • Best Alsace pinot gris: Léon Beyer Réserve Personnelle pinot gris 2017 , £18.95
  • Best New Zealand pinot gris: Rod Easthope Hawke's Bay pinot gris 2021, £13.99
  • Best pinot gris rosé : Gerard Cordier Reuilly pinot gris rosé 2021, £15.50

Best pinot grigio 2022

Specially Selected Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie 2021

Best budget pinot grigio

green bottle with white label

Star rating: 3/4
ABV: 13%

Absolutely extraordinary value here. I have no idea how Aldi does it for the price. This is not a wishy-washy pinot grigio. There’s rose petal and ginger, with green apple, apricot and a touch of bitter orange peel. It should be available in store even if it's sold out online. Buy all you can!

Available from:
Aldi (£5.49)

Sorcova pinot grigio 2021

Best pinot grigio for parties

green bottle with black label

Star rating: 3/5
ABV: 12%

Pinot grigio has found a home from home in Romania. This is made by one of the country’s largest quality producers Cramele Recaș, and they have really brought out the floral aromatic side to the grape. This is fresh, delicious and impossible to dislike – especially at under £8.

More like this

Available from:
Waitrose (£7.99)

Morrisons The Best pinot gris 2020

Best with spicy food

green bottle with badge pinot gris

Star rating: 3/5
ABV: 13.5%

The little bit of sweetness in most Alsatian pinot gris makes it a great foil to spicy food such as Thai green curries or Szechuan cuisine. Made by Cave de Turckheim, one of the best co-ops in the region, this is exploding with rose petals, peaches and pears, all combined with an off-dry fruitiness.

Available from:

Morrisons (£8.75)

Bolney Estate pinot gris 2020

Best English pinot gris

light green bottle

Star rating: 4/5
ABV: 12.5%

Made by one of the stalwarts of English wine, Bolney Estate in Sussex, this has lots of spice on the nose with a tangy palate like biting into a perfect Cox’s apple. There’s no shortage of flavour here and this wine shows that there’s huge potential for this grape in England.

Available from:

Corkk (£19.99)

Castello Banfi San Angelo pinot grigio 2021

Best with seafood

light yellow pinot grigio

Star rating: 4/5
ABV: 12.5%

This comes from Tuscany and it’s a rather sophisticated wine. On the nose it’s peachy and then on the palate there’s pepper, apple and stone fruit with a creamy finish. It’s one of those wines that gets more interesting with each sip, and would be great with spaghetti alle vongole.

Available from:

Mr Wheeler Wine (£18.99)

Weingut Jülg Kalkmergel grauburgunder trocken 2019

Best german wine

brown pinot grigio bottle

Star rating: 5/5
ABV: 13.5%

'Trocken' means dry in German. This delicious wine has some of the richness of Alsace with a full texture and opulent apricot fruit, but combines this with the dryness of Northern Italy. Not just my favourite German wine in the line-up, but probably my favourite overall.

Available from:
Wine Society (£12.50)

Puiattino pinot grigio 2020

Best Italian pinot grigio

dark bottle with blue accents

Star rating: 4/5
ABV: 12.5%

From Friuli in Northern Italy, this shows that the Italians can do hedonistic pinot grigio, too. It’s just a joyous wine to swill around your mouth, with its round creamy texture and citrus fruit bitterness. Tastes much more expensive than £10.

Available from:

Tesco (£10)

Léon Beyer Réserve Personnelle pinot gris 2017

Best Alsace pinot gris

dark green alsace pinot gris bottle

Star rating: 5/5
ABV: 13.5%

Now this is a serious wine. Take a sniff and there’s honey and spice with a touch of lemon. On the palate, it’s dry initially with an appley freshness, and then fills out with almonds and spicy notes like rye bread. A stunning wine that requires some suitably rich food to pair with it.

Available from:
Yapp Brothers (£18.95)

Rod Easthope Hawke's Bay pinot gris 2021

Best New Zealand pinot gris

light green bottle with white labels

Star rating: 4/5
ABV:13.5%

Pinot gris from New Zealand is often made in an off-dry style, like this wine, with a nod to Alsace. Here the little bit of sweetness and floral side is beautifully balanced by a racy orchard fruit acidity. As usual with Naked Wines, it’s much cheaper if you sign up as an ‘angel'.

Available from:
Naked Wines (£13.99)

Gerard Cordier Reuilly pinot gris rosé 2021

Best pinot gris rosé

light yellow pinot gris bottle

Star rating: 4/5
ABV: 13.5%

French pinot gris isn’t just confined to Alsace. In the Loire, it’s sometimes used to make a delicious rosé known as a vin gris by giving the wine some skin contact. The result – as seen here – is like a cross between a white and a rosé with notes of brown apple and a gorgeous creamy texture.

Available from:

Yapp Brothers (£15.50)

What makes a good pinot grigio

Whether it’s made dry like in Italy, or off-dry like in Alsace and New Zealand, good pinot grigio should have a certain spiciness to it, combining with stone or orchard fruit, a little honey, and sometimes rose petal notes.

How we tested pinot grigio

Our wine expert Henry Jeffreys tested a broad range of pinot grigio to find the best selection. Each bottle was individually sampled, exploring the different aromas. We aimed to cover a variety of pinot grigio styles, including rosé. Good pinot grigio should have spiciness, plenty of fruit (this can vary from apple to citrus or apricots, depending on style), and even potential rose petal notes.

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