Pacific Rim
July 20, 2023 | wine | Pacific Rim

Which is Sweeter: Riesling or Pinot Grigio?

Close your eyes and imagine the perfect glass of wine. Is it dry or something on the sweeter side? Surveys indicate that many wine lovers tend to prefer something on the sweeter side. There are many different reasons for that, too. Many people just naturally enjoy sweet wines because they offer a pleasant flavor profile that hits the ideal note. They’re often seen as an indulgent treat for people.

They’re incredibly versatile, too, because they can complement many different dishes like spicy foods and dessert courses. Perhaps most importantly, though, they offer that perfect balance combining sweetness and acidity that counterbalance each other. As you shop for the ideal wine for dinner or an upcoming event, though, you may wonder about what wine is best. Which is sweeter - Riesling or Pinot Grigio? Which one is your next perfect purchase?

A Bit of History

Both Riesling and Pinot Grigio have a long history. Pinot Grigio first appeared in the 13th century. Pinot Grigio initially appeared as a mutation of the Pinot Noir grape variety. Pinot Grigio likely appeared in the Burgundy region of France in the earliest days of this wine. Its popularity comes from the Alsace region of France, and by the late 19th century, the vines were being transported to Italy.

It grew well there, and Italy’s already well-established wine making culture quickly embraced the new variety. These days, this unique grape is cultivated in many other regions known for wine like Germany, Austria, Oregon, California, and New Zealand, though each region offers a unique expression of flavor.

Riesling has an equally long history that dates back centuries. Most believe this grape variety originated in the Rhine region of Germany near Rüdesheim. It was initially mentioned in a German vineyard inventory in the 15th century, but it may be older than that.

The popularity of this variety grew significantly, though, during the 19th century. Many wine connoisseurs discovered the beauty this variety has to offer, and it was quickly brought to other wine growing regions. Its versatility has helped it survive and production has expanded further than ever thought possible.

So, Which is Sweeter - Pinot Grigio or Riesling?

In most cases, wine lovers will tell you that a Pinot Grigio tends to be a bit sweet and a bit sour. That comes from the high levels of acidity in this wine. Instead of sweetness, you typically get a slightly more balanced wine when you open a bottle of Pinot Grigio. You’ll find it has a zesty feel, far more so than a Riesling.

A Riesling may feel a bit like a Pinot Grigio when you initially taste it thanks to the fact that they have many of the same flavor notes. They tend to be based on softer fruits including peaches, pears, and apples. Riesling, though, is sweeter. Every bottle tends to have a far higher sugar count, and in some cases, you’ll find that it has a deep honey characteristic you just won’t find with a Pinot Grigio.

It’s also a bit more versatile than a Pinot Grigio because even though it has a lower tannin count, it also has high levels of acidity, so the aging potential here is enormous. Letting a bottle sit in your wine cellar for a year or so will help deepen its flavor quite a bit. At the end of the day, if you’re asking the question “Which is sweeter - Riesling or Pinot Grigio?” you’re going to find that Riesling was made for those who truly love sweet wines.

Which Wine is Right for You?

If sweetness were the only factor, a Riesling is an ideal wine to meet your needs. For most people, though, taking other factors into account is a must. Typically, those other factors hinge on how the wine is being used. If you’re serving it with a meal, a Riesling tends to be a bit more versatile because it’s the perfect combination of sweet and acidic.

It works well with spicy foods like Asian and Indian cuisine as well as many different sweet foods like the entire dessert course at your table. It also pairs perfectly with rich cheeses if you want to serve it along with your appetizer course.

Pinot Grigio is drier, so it’s going to pair best with meats and cheeses. It also works well as a cooking wine, depending on the dish. If you have a savory meal you’re looking to pair the right wine with, you may want to use a Pinot Grigio.

No matter which wine you decide is right for the situation, you can always turn to Pacific Rim for some of the best wines available today. With many different varieties to fill your next glass, you’ll always find a perfect option. Take a look at what we have to offer now.

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