A variety of distinctive textures, mouthwatering taste notes, and opulent fragrances may be found in the white wine grape. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are ideal places to start if you want to learn more about white wines. These two white French wines are utterly unlike one another.
But don’t worry if you haven’t gotten a chance to test them out yet! You can take advantage of the information in our article about the difference between Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc to learn more about these two varieties of white wine.
The Bottom Line about the Difference Between Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc
|Origin||Burgundy, in France||Loire Valley, in France|
|Taste||Fruit aromas such as melons and fruit from fall orchards, such as apples and pears.||Citrus fruit, most commonly grapefruits, though limes, lemons, and kumquats|
|Style||Medium-bodied to full-bodied white wine||Medium-bodied white wine|
|Food Pairing||Foods with strong flavors||Foods that are light and/or herb-heavy, such as chicken, pig, seafood, shellfish, salads, bruschetta, cheese|
|Serving Tips||Between 53–58°F||Between 45–49°F|
|ABV||13.5 to 14.5%||12.5–14%|
What is Chardonnay?
For more than a thousand years, Burgundy, in France, has been the home of Chardonnay production. Chardonnay is typically made in a fuller style in the Russian River Valley and Napa Valley of Sonoma, frequently with oak and a little bit of butteriness, which gives it richness and creaminess.
It is produced in a variety of styles in Washington State, Oregon, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and other places.
Chardonnay naturally displays fruit aromas that are frequently compared to melons and fruit from fall orchards, such as apples and pears. It frequently has a mild brininess to it when planted in more calcium-rich soils.
Tropical fruit flavors like pineapples, papayas, mangoes, and guavas are frequently found in Chardonnays from warmer regions. Oak-influenced Chardonnays often feature tastes and aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, clove, and notes of butter if they go through malolactic fermentation.
Medium-bodied to full-bodied white wine
Depending on its growing region and production method, Chardonnay can have a variety of flavors. However, Chardonnay is often a dry wine with a medium to full body, moderate acidity, and low alcohol content.
It has a variety of tastes, including apple, lemon, papaya, and pineapple. When it is aged in oak, it also develops a sense of vanilla.
ABV: 13.5 to 14.5%
5. Food Pairing:
Foods with strong flavors can easily overpower Chardonnay’s delicate flavor. It completely fails when combined with the taste equivalent of a loud action flick. You desire calm flavors—mild, understated dishes that are not overly pungent, spicy, or acidic.
Additionally, Chardonnay tastes better when paired with dishes that enhance its complex, mellow flavors.
6. Serving Tips:
Chardonnay should be served between 53–58°F. Just chill the wine for 30 to 60 minutes before serving, or place it in an ice bucket filled with ice and water.
An optimum serving is around 5 ounces or half of a wine glass. Allowing the wine to air will enhance its tastes and aromas. Fill the glass to just below the largest part.
What is Sauvignon Blanc?
The Loire Valley is where Sauvignon Blanc initially originated, and there, in the 1500s, the synonym “fiers” was recorded. “Sauvignon” is a combination of the French words sauvage (“wild”) and vigne (“vine”). Many customers associate New Zealand and Sauvignon Blanc together, and vice versa. Along with Chile and Argentina, California also produces a ton of outstanding Sauvignon Blancs.
Sauvignon Blanc is known for its citrus fruit, most commonly grapefruits, though limes, lemons, and kumquats are also prominent. Examples from warmer climates could have fruit tones that trend more toward the tropics. Because of its strong acidity, Sauvignon Blanc, a grape variety said to be semi-aromatic, has a refreshing flavor.
Medium-bodied white wine.
Depending on the environment, Sauvignon Blanc has mild to relatively high alcohol content (12.5-14% alcohol by volume), a strong acidity, a rich taste, and aromas of mineral, grass, and citrus.
5. Food Pairing:
With foods that are light and/or herb-heavy, such as chicken, pig, seafood, shellfish, salads, bruschetta, cheese, and vegetarian fare, Sauvignon Blanc combines well. Because acidity brings out or intensifies flavors, Sauvignon Blanc’s strong acidity makes it a good meal partner.
That meal tastes even better because of the lemon juice’s acidity. Any foods flavored with herbs like oregano, cilantro, or rosemary go well with the herbaceous flavors of Sauvignon Blanc.
6. Serving Tips:
Dry, unoaked, and sweet types should be served between 45–49°F (after about two hours in the refrigerator). Richer, oaked types may get away with being slightly warmer, at roughly 10-12 degrees Celsius (1.5 hours cooling in the fridge). Serving fewer amounts of wine in a bigger glass is beneficial for all types of wines. Two-thirds of the glass is adequate.
Key Difference Between Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc
Both the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, which are well-known French white grape varieties, have their origins in Burgundy. The well-known sparkling wines and lovely Champagnes that we like are also produced using both grape varieties.
The grapes used to make Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are spherical, and green, and often grow in dense clusters. Sauvignon grapes develop in clusters that are only a little bit looser than Chardonnay grapes, which is the sole little distinction.
2. Alcohol content:
A wine’s strength is determined by its alcohol concentration, and the grape type has an impact on this. While Sauv Blanc often has lower alcohol concentration, Chardonnay grapes typically have little sugar content, leading to high alcohol levels.
Australian, Chilean, and Californian chardonnay wines usually have 13.5 to 14.5% alcohol. In contrast, South African and New Zealand Sauv Blanc wines have an alcohol concentration between 12.5 and 13.5%.
Sauvignon Blanc’s main flavors are grapefruit, passion fruit, gooseberry, and honeydew. The body shifts from medium to light while the flavor profile is dry. There are very strong herbal overtones in it.
On the other hand, butter, apple, starfruit, pineapple, and vanilla are among the main flavors of Chardonnay. The wine has a dry flavor character. Despite not tasting sweet, it boasts flavors of tropical fruits including pineapple, papaya, and mango.
Wine made from Chardonnay that has been aged in oak barrels has a butterier flavor and creamier texture, as well as undertones of vanilla-flavored and spice. Unoaked Chardonnay, on the other hand, has flavors of apples and lemons and is more energizing.
Richer and more robust than other wines, Chardonnay occasionally has a sticky texture. Sauvignon Blanc has the potential to taste lighter, brighter, and herbaceous. Although Sauv Blanc and Chardonnay are both typically relatively dry wines, certain varieties of Sauvignon Blanc include residual sugar, which makes them sweeter.
5. Food pairing:
Sushi, white fish, poultry, turkey, veggies, and pig are some examples of foods that go well with Sauvignon Blanc. Chardonnay goes well with heartier dishes like buttered foods, lobster, salmon, halibut, and cream sauces. Simply said, Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with light dishes like salads and seafood platters. Chardonnay, on the other hand, pairs nicely with heavier meals like creamy dishes because of its creamy taste.
6. Serving tips:
Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc should both be served cold. If either has been aged in oak, it may be served a little bit warmer.
For Sauvignon Blanc, a standard white wine glass works well, as opposed to Chardonnay, which has to be poured in a wide bulb glass. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc don’t require decanting.
The most well-known and reasonably priced white wine is Sauvignon Blanc. Typically, the cost is between $10 and $40.
French and Italian wines often cost $20–40, whereas California and New Zealand’s wines cost $10–30. $10–$20 for the remainder.
The typical price range for chardonnay is $10 to $50. Over $100 Chardonnay is available, mainly from Italy, France, and the US.
If you’re looking for a high-end bottle, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru is a rare specimen that costs over $10,000 a bottle.
You can also like:
- Is A 20 QT Cooler Big Enough? – Here’s Your Answer
- Is Igloo a Good Cooler? – Find Out What the Experts Say
- Common Problems With Wine Coolers | Reasons and Solutions
Which one is the Winner?
Everything is dependent upon the way you feel, what you are eating, and, of course, the state of your finances. You’ll get a softer, more rounded mix of flavors from an amazing glass of Chardonnay or a delicate sip of Sauvignon Blanc, and they’ll probably not cost much.
Although they may cost a little more, a clean, accurate Chablis (a type of Chardonnay) or a firm, rich Sancerre (a type of Sauvignon Blanc) will frequently have a greater depth and a more pleasant finish. This is especially true given the cost of land and the level of care used in both the grape harvesting and wine fermentation processes.
People frequently end up preferring one over the other or selecting either the new or old-world ways. They are planted and adored all over the world for good reason, though.
Health Benefits of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc
When drank in moderation, the two Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines have positive health effects. Resveratrol, a substance found in grape skins, is primarily responsible for these advantages.
Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities are two of resveratrol’s well-known benefits. Lowering poor cholesterol levels and blood clot risks may improve heart health. A further association between moderate wine drinking and enhanced cognitive performance in older persons has been found.
A further association between moderate wine drinking and enhanced cognitive performance in older persons has been found. Therefore, when drunk in moderation, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines may be part of a healthy diet.
The advantages of drinking wine should not be a justification for overindulging, though. Women who are pregnant and those who have alcohol sensitivity should either completely avoid wine or see a healthcare professional before doing so.
1. Does Chardonnay Have a Sweeter Taste Than Sauvignon Blanc?
Probably no. The strong, clean, and luscious fruits of Sauvignon Blanc may make the wine taste a little sweeter, deceiving your taste receptors into believing the wine is sweet even if it is dry.
It’s essential to keep in mind that sweetness might differ based on the precise winemaking processes employed or even the area wherever grapes are cultivated.
2. Does Sauvignon Blanc winemakers put sugar in the wine?
Yes, however only a small percentage of Sauvignon Blanc winemakers will put a little amount of sugar, about a few grams, into their bottles to balance the Sauvignon Blanc’s naturally strong acidity. Because the wine is sour, you probably can’t taste anything, but it could be there!
3. Is Chardonnay a pricey wine?
There are just a few expensive Options. Even though the term “expensive” is arbitrary, very little Chardonnay is included on a list of the most expensive bottles of wine ever produced or sold. Some of the priciest bottles of Chardonnay only cost $200 to $300.
4. When is Chardonnay at its best?
The majority of white wines need to be drunk between 2-3 years following bottling. Full-bodied wines like Roussane (best between three and seven years) and Chardonnay (three to five years) are exceptions to this rule. However, good Burgundy white wines (French Chardonnays) are typically drunk between the ages of 10-15.
5. What does oaked vs. unoaked Chardonnay mean?
Oaked wines undergo at least some of the aging process, which might involve both aging and fermentation or just aging, in oak barrels. Along with aromas of spice and vanilla, the oak barrels can contribute smoother, softer taste qualities. However, unoaked chardonnays aren’t matured in oak barrels. Instead, the wine is matured and fermented in stainless steel containers before being bottled. Typically, this results in a wine that is fresh, dry, lighter in body, and has a sharper finish.
6. Why does some Chardonnay taste buttery?
Some full-bodied Chardonnays are frequently described as being “buttery.” Both the wine’s flavor and its texture may be described using this adjective. It is produced by a method known as malolactic fermentation (MLF). The wine undergoes a second fermentation process called MLF. Bacteria transform the grape’s malic acid into lactic acid during this procedure. Lactic acid is smooth and buttery, whereas malic acid has a flavor that is similar to sour green apples.
7. Does Sauvignon Blanc have a light or strong flavor?
Every grape has a particular growing environment, and each one has a distinct acid, flavor, and alcohol profile. Depending on the environment, Sauvignon Blanc often has strong acidity, a rich taste with flavors of minerals, grass, and citrus, and 12.5–14% alcohol by volume.
8. Which wine, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, is better for cooking?
In seafood meals or sauces made with heavy cream, Sauvignon Blanc’s sharp acidity is very delightful. However, Chardonnay adds the most depth. While it may seem paradoxical, stay away from “cooking wines,” as they sometimes include salt and other chemicals.
9. How long does Chardonnay keep once it’s been opened?
White wine with a lot of body: When corked, full-bodied white wines like oaked Chardonnay survive 3-5 days in the refrigerator. Sparkling wine: When corked, sparkling wines last for one to three days in the fridge before losing their carbonation.
10. What characteristics make an excellent Chardonnay?
Look for words like lean, minerals, fresh, white blossoms, and citrus bloom in taste descriptions to help you identify products without oak. Although there are certain varieties (especially in Chablis) of unoaked Chardonnay that will age for a decade or more, the majority should be consumed young.
11. What shouldn’t be served with Chardonnay?
The majority of Indian, Chinese, and Southeast Asian cuisines, as well as fresh or dried chilies, should be avoided. Chardonnay goes well with bitter meals. The wine will taste sour if you eat any bitter vegetables or greens or spices like turmeric.
12. Does Chardonnay raise blood pressure?
When your health problem is blood pressure, any type of wine should be treated equally. Wine should be used in moderation if you are suffering from high blood pressure. I advise you to entirely cut off all alcohol (including wine) until your hypertension is under control.
13. Does Chardonnay include a lot of sugar?
A five-ounce glass of red table wine normally includes around 0.9 grams of total sugar, while a glass of chardonnay typically contains about 1.4 grams. A sweet dessert wine can include up to 7 grams of sugar and is normally served in a two- to three-ounce glass.
14. Does Sauvignon Blanc have a lot of calories?
All alcoholic beverages, including those that exist in white wine bottles such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and other varieties, are created from natural starch and sugar. A standard 175ml white wine glass has 131 calories, just a little bit more than what you’d receive from a package of pre-salted chips.
Chardonnay is the ideal white wine if you want traditional, rich, creamy ones. The citrus and zest in Sauvignon Blanc wines give you a mouth-tingling, fruit-forward white wine-sipping experience. Stick with Sauvignon Blanc if you like light-fruited white wines.
Comparing the two wines side by side is a fantastic way to start with them. And I sincerely hope that the article about the differences between Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc we wrote has enlightened you on the distinctions between these two well-liked wine grapes.
In 2014, Leo Colon began working with Big Cottonwood Winery. Over the years he has remained part of this prestigious winery’s team and is also a contributor to other notable wine publications. As an ardent advocate for knowledge, Leo continues his vinous education to this day.