Pinot Grigio vs Chardonnay: The Battle Of The Grapes

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A wine battle that has been centuries long, Pinot Grigio versus Chardonnay, may finally come to an end today. Wine connoisseurs around the globe have been trying to decide: Which one is better? As I sip my unoaked Chardonnay, I started to wonder why I never enjoyed a glass of Pinot Grigio.

What was it about the chardonnay I enjoyed so much more? I picked up my bottle of Pinot from my wine cellar and decided to figure out the difference.

Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay are the most popular types of white wine. They look almost identical in a glass, which can make things difficult when digging for the answer:

What’s the difference between Pinot Grigio & Chardonnay? Pinot Grigio is thought to be like a mutant cousin of Pinot Noir. Pinot Grigio often has fruit flavours such as lime, lemon, pear, apple and white nectar. It is a dry to semi-sweet wine. Chardonnay has flavours of apples, papaya, lemon, pineapple and vanilla when oaked. is a dry medium to full-body wine.

I started to really think, the reason why I like chardonnay is because it is completely full-bodied and is drier than the Pinot Grigio.

So, you have a sweet tooth and want a sweeter wine.

I know after a long workday I could sit down with a bag of sweet candy and a glass of Chardonnay. The buttery fullness of Chardonnay really compliments my bag of candy.

When we’re comparing the two wines, Pinot Grigio takes the cake. Because Chardonnay is so much dryer and the sweetness come out more in Pinot Grigio.

  • Pinot Grigio is on the lower end of medium sweet
  • Chardonnay is on the higher end of the less sweet levels.

If you are usually a rosé drinker and you want to try one of these wines, I would try Pinot Grigio first.

White Wine Sweetness LevelWine
DrySauvignon Blanc, Muscadet, Chardonnay
Off DryPinot Grigio, Viognier
Semi SweetRiesling, Chenin Blanc
SweetMoscato, Gewürztraminer
Very SweetWhite Port, Ice Wine, Late Harvest

Which one has a higher alcohol content?

Wine is sneaky, be careful. Even if a bottle says a certain percent you must factor in other things, such as what you ate that day or how much sleep you’ve had. These two wines have a very similar alcohol content.

It really depends on what area of the world the grape comes from. Keep in mind the average alcohol content in Pinot and Chardonnay is typically around 12.5% to 15.5%.

Alcohol content influencers:

  • Brand of wine
  • Type of grape
  • Age

If you are concerned about the alcohol content in your wine, you should always read the label or ask your waiter if you are at a restaurant. The safe bet is that if you’re going to drink wine make sure you have a ride, or you are staying home.

What does oaked and unoaked chardonnay mean?

I remember one time I was at a winery and I asked this question. I was confused why sometimes my oaked chardonnay tasted like bubble gum mixed with wood. No one could understand why I tasted that, but to each their own taste bud.

The reason why they call it oaked is because it is aged in oak barrels instead of steel or plastic barrels. The tastes that come from being in the oaked barrels is vanilla and caramel.

I thought this would be important to mention as it is an important part when deciding between a chardonnay and pinot. If the restaurant you’re at may only serve oaked and if you don’t like that Pinot Grigio is your best bet.

Oaked Qualities:

  • Vanilla flavouring
  • Caramel
  • Buttery
  • Toasted

Unoaked Qualities:

  • Fruity
  • Green apple
  • Pineapple
  • Tangy finish

I am getting my summer body ready, which one is lower in calories.

WineCalories (per 5oz)Carbs (per 5oz)Alcohol ContentSugars (per 5oz)
Chardonnay150 -1703.2g12.5%-15.51.4g
Pinot Grigio140 -1503g12.5%-15.5%<1g

I am someone that loves bold wines, unfortunately the bolder the taste the more calories. I included a table below to show you the difference

If you have 4 glasses of Pinot Grigio you are looking at 400 calories to 560 calories. While our friend Chardonnay has 600 calories to 680 calories. This can really make a big difference. Those extra 200 calories can really change things for you.

Carbs are also an important part of getting that summer body ready. That’s a significant increase. So, go ahead poor that extra glass of Pinot but try to stick to a lower number if you’ll be drinking Chardonnay.

  • Pinot Grigio has anywhere from 100 calories to 140 calories.
  • Chardonnay has 150 calories to 170 calories.
  • Pinot Grigio has 3g of carbs per 5 ounces
  • Chardonnay has 3.2g of carbs per five ounces


Which wine do I cook with?

I am not a very good cook, so I asked my boyfriend which wine he prefers to cook with. He looked at me and sighed and said: “Any wine is fine. What are you cooking???” He looked concerned. I explained further and he told me: If I am cooking with seafood, I should use a Sauvignon Blanc because of the acidity.

If you’re cooking chicken use Pinot grigio because it is the most neutral wine to cook with. If you are making pasta, the best to use is Chardonnay because of how much body, it has. In reality you really can use any wine. The cheaper the better as it is just for the recipe. I believe the quality of the wine isn’t necessary for the meal you will be making.

Which Wine Should I Choose for Dinner?

I always have the hardest time choosing which wine I will have for dinner. This is often because the sommelier doesn’t exist in every restaurant.

Preferably I would like someone to be recommending wine out of my cellar for every meal, but trial and error works best. The best way to figure it out is to eat a lot of food and try a lot of different wines every time.

So far here is my list:

FoodWine Pairing
ChickenPinot Grigio
PastaPinot Grigio

What about Moscato or Sauvignon Blanc, which one is sweeter?

If you could have a list of the sweetest to driest wine Moscato and Sauvignon Blanc would be at opposite ends from each other.


  • Sweet wine it is lower in alcohol and would be considered a dessert wine.
  • You will find Moscato to have fruit flavours such as peach and orange.

Sauvignon Blanc:

  • A very dry wine.
  • Sauvignon Blanc’s fruit flavours are Green apple, passion fruit and white peach.
  • Although a great pairing with many foods it has a very bold taste.

If you are new to wine drinking, I would work your way down through the wines before jumping right into Sauvignon Blanc. It is highest in alcohol content, calories and boldness, even more than chardonnay. The winner here is definitely Moscato when it comes to sweetness.

What is a Pinot Grigio Chardonnay blend?

When you combine the best of Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio you are left with a work of art in the wine world.

The dry or off-dry wine with a darker golden colour will really surprise your taste buds as it always does mine. Chardonnay is the weight while Pinot Grigio is the aroma. This can happen by either being a 50/50 blend, 75/25 blend or even just a splash if the wine maker is just looking to create a little bit more body in their wine.

The blend of the two wines creates the best of both worlds and leaves you with a bold wine with a complex aroma.

Amount of ChardonnayAmount of Pinot GrigioResults
½½Medium Weight

Medium Aroma

¼¾Light Weight

Strong Aroma

¾¼Strong Body

Light Aroma

Now is the time for you to decide. Next time you go into a liquor store, grab a bottle of both or a few of each and have your own little wine tasting. I always like to try new wines; it can be exciting. Eventually, you can do blind tests and see if you can guess which wine is which.

If I had to choose which one, I will be drinking from now on I think I would like to start drinking more Pinot Grigio, but my heart will always be with Chardonnay. Unoaked of course.

Written By: Adan Kovinich


I am a blogger turned Wine Enthusiast, Who loves to try new things and this is my blog.

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