By Carl Hanson
February 20, 2015
Photo by cookin'mama

Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio, the wine grapes are actually the same. Gris and Grigio are French and Italian for the same word, "grey." The wines' accents, though, can be quite different. That's because the grapes produce different styles of wine depending on where they're grown and how they're handled by the winemaker.

If you like a rich style with some spice, you might go for Pinot Gris from the Alsace region of France or from parts of Oregon and New Zealand. Or how about crisp and refreshing? Try the lighter-bodied Italian styles of Pinot Grigio. Either style is terrific with seafood and pasta dishes, vegetarian food, and chicken (fried, roasted, grilled).

There's so much about this recipe that recommends Pinot Gris. The smoked salmon, yes; the light creamy sauce, yes; the Romano cheese and mushrooms, yes and yes.

Photo by chibi chef

Add a splash of your Pinot Grigio to the skillet, like a libation to the gods. Incidentally, carbonara is also a terrific breakfast pasta -- though I can't in good conscience recommend the wine pairing for breakfast.

Photo by abapplez

Chicken in a perky little lemon-caper-parsley sauce. This wants an Italian Pinot Grigio in the best possible way.

Photo by MamaLeah

Come to think of it, this also wants an Italian Pinot Grigio in the best possible way. Ricotta, spinach, fresh parsley, a little basil and garlic. Yum.

Photo by abapplez

Go Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc here. Or try them both side by side. This is a can't-lose scenario.

Photo by cookin'mama

OK, now this would also be nice with either Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc. So here's a plan: Make the halibut one night, and sample it with the Gris and the Sauvignon Blanc side by side; see what you think. Then make this pizza for day 2, and sample 'em both again. There are no losers here.

Photo by mommyluvs2cook

Pro Tip: Don't prepare this meal (and pairing) for anyone you don't want to fall in love with you.

Photo by SouthernBelle

Scallops are another great match for Pinot Gris. Chef John has some pointers for perfectly seared scallops: "First, they must be perfectly dry. Second, the oil goes on the cold scallops, not in the hot pan. Third, your pan must be extremely hot, which means you have to use a very heavy, cast iron or stainless steel pan."

Photo by Baking Nana

Bonus Video Break

See how to section oranges into beautiful, pith-free segments for the seared scallops recipe.

The white wine, lemon juice, and cream sauce says, please please Pinot Gris. Choose your style, and stick with it. Or don't stick with it. Experiment with different styles. See what you like. Have a ball.

And back to the pairings...

In general, Gris and Grigio like roasted pork. You might also try roasted pork and sauerkraut with an Alsatian pinot gris.

Photo by naples34102

It's hard to go wrong with chicken and Pinot Gris. With fried chicken, it seems right to stick with American wine. Try an Oregon Pinot Gris. Or grab a sparkling wine.

Photo by MrsSpice

An Alsatian Pinot Gris would be a nice move here. As the onions and shallots roast, they mellow. The roasted chicken and mild onions would be great with an Alsatian Pinot Gris. In fact, onion tarts and Alsatian Pinot Gris are a classic match.

Photo by SunnyByrd