Are you a wine enthusiast who is passionate about exploring different types of white wines? Are you familiar with the varietals pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc, but don’t know their differences? If so, then this blog post is for you!
In this article, we will cover everything about the difference between pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc – from where they are grown to what flavors each offer. By diving into an in-depth analysis of these two popular whites, we hope to help deepen your love for experimenting with various kinds of vino. So pull up a seat and get ready to learn more about the unique distinctions between two classic favorites!
Although Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are both refreshing white wines, they differ significantly in terms of flavor. So, liking one doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enjoy the other.
1. What is Pinot Grigio?
Pinot Grigio (called “Pee-no Nwar”) is a type of white wine known for its light, crisp, and dry taste and high acidity. It is called Pinot Grigio in Italy, Pinot Gris in France, Grauer Burgunder in Germany, and Grauburgunder in Austria.
It is the second most popular white wine in the US and is enjoyed by many wine drinkers, although it may not be considered a top pick by wine experts. Pinot Grigio, like most white wines, has a relatively low alcohol content.
Origin: Burgundy, France
Taste: The flavor is characterized by red fruits such as cherries and cranberries, as well as red floral notes like roses. It may also have pleasant vegetal notes, such as beets, rhubarb, or mushrooms.
Style: Pinot Grigio is a lighter-bodied Red Wine.
Sweetness: Dry to medium-dry
Regions: Emilia-Romagna, Umbria, Trentino-Alto Adige, Lombardy, New Zealand, Austria, Australia, California, Oregon, Friuli, Alsace.
Description: Pinot Noir is a type of red wine that is dry and has a light body. It was first extensively grown in France. These wines usually contain higher levels of acidity and have a soft, smooth finish with low tannins.
Pinot Grigio wine can have different characteristics depending on its origin, harvest time, and production method. Italian Pinot Grigio is typically harvested early to retain freshness and acidity, although cheaper options may be harvested earlier.
Meanwhile, American and Australian versions are harvested a bit later to enhance fruity and rich flavors. Pinot Gris from Alsace is harvested even later, resulting in a full-bodied and sweet wine.
Color: Pale gold
- Seafood like sushi, shellfish, and ceviche
- Fresh salads like a wheat berry salad with pears or a crunchy, creamy salad like fennel avocado salad.
- Light pasta dishes and cheeses such as gruyere and manchego
- Chicken, pork, duck, veal
- French and German food
Avoid pairing it with high-acid foods, like citrus fruits or tomato-based recipes, because Pinot Grigio is already fairly acidic.
For the best taste, chill Pinot Grigio and serve in a white wine glass. If you will be serving it within the next few days, store it in the refrigerator.
2. What is Sauvignon Blanc?
Sauvignon Blanc (saw-vin-yawn blonk)
Sauvignon Blanc is a widely grown white wine known for its distinct herbal taste and lively acidity. It comes in different styles, ranging from slim to abundant. This wine is well-liked and widely available.
Origin: Bordeaux, France
Taste: Sauvignon Blanc is a type of wine that often has a high level of acidity. It has a full flavor with notes of minerals, grass, and grapefruit, and its alcohol content can range from light to moderately high depending on the climate. Typically, Sauvignon Blanc has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 12.5% to 14%.
Style: Light to Medium-Bodied White Wine
Regions: Sauvignon Blanc is a grape variety that is cultivated throughout the world, but it is most well-known for its production in regions such as the Loire Valley and Bordeaux in France, Marlborough in New Zealand, Casablanca in Chile, and Napa Valley in California.
Description: Sauvignon Blanc is a type of dry white grape that was initially grown in France. The wines produced from this grape are usually tangy and have distinct herbal and “green” fruit flavors.
Color: Compared to other white wines, the color of aged Sauvignon Blanc tends to change from greenish-yellow to straw yellow, and eventually to golden yellow.
However, the intensity of the colors usually does not become more accentuated or deep.
ABV: 12.5% to 14%
If you’re not sure what wine to choose, pick a Sauvignon Blanc. It goes well with dishes containing herbs, whether you’re having chicken, tofu, or fish.
It’s especially good with feta or chèvre cheese, or with herbal Asian dishes like Thai or Vietnamese food.
Sauvignon Blanc is also a great match with cheese salad, turkey, crab, lobster, bass, salmon, and oyster; Spices and herbs such as rosemary, bay leaf, mint, dill, garlic, green olive, and thyme.
3. Similarities between Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc
Although Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are two very different white wines, there are still some similarities between them.
They both have a light to medium body, high acidity level, and dry finish. In terms of flavor, both will contain floral and fruity notes such as cherries, cranberries, grapefruit, etc.
Additionally, they can both be enjoyed chilled or at room temperature depending on preference.
4. Difference between Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc
The main difference between Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc lies in their flavor profiles. Pinot Grigio has a light, crisp taste with red fruit notes, while Sauvignon Blanc is typically more herbal with grassy and grapefruit flavors.
Pinot Grigio is generally harvested earlier than Sauvignon Blanc to maintain its light body and high acidity levels, while Sauvignon Blanc may be harvested later for richer fruity flavors.
When it comes to regions of origin, Pinot Grigio can be found in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, and Australia as well as North America. On the other hand, Sauvignon Blanc can be found primarily in France, New Zealand, Chile, and California.
Finally, the ABV of Pinot Grigio (ABV: 11.5–13.5%) is generally lower than Sauvignon Blanc. (12.5% to 14%)
If you prefer a lighter, fruitier flavor, you may want to try Pinot Grigio. If you’re interested in wine with herbal notes and higher alcohol content, consider choosing Sauvignon Blanc.
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5. Food Pairings: Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc has a tart and refreshing taste that pairs well with lighter meals, particularly seafood and spicy foods. I enjoy having it with creamy lobster bisque or Thai fish cakes.
As for Pinot Grigio, it has a neutral flavor that makes it versatile and suitable for a wide variety of dishes, including pizza, seafood, light or creamy sauces, chicken, and pork. It has mild fruity notes that don’t overpower the taste of most dishes.
6. How to Choose Between the Two Wines
The best way to choose between Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc is to taste them both. This will help you decide which flavor profile suits you best.
If these wines are not readily available for tasting, read online reviews or ask your local wine store for advice on what type of white would be the most suitable for your preferences. With a bit of research, you can find the perfect bottle of white wine to enjoy!
Ultimately, the choice between Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc comes down to personal preference. Both wines have their unique characteristics and they can both be enjoyed for any special occasion. So relax and sip away!
Both Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are light, fruity wines with citrus notes.
Sauvignon Blanc commonly has a grapefruit taste, especially from New Zealand or Australia, and French versions have more mineral or grassy notes.
Pinot Grigio has a slightly heavier mouthfeel and tastes more like grapes.
However, these wines are quite similar in style, flavor, and drinkability. They can be interchanged for general use or entertaining unless you are dealing with expert wine connoisseurs.
1. Is Sauvignon Blanc a superior option compared to Pinot Grigio?
For a slightly sweeter and fruitier option with a balanced taste, try the Pinot Grigio. If you prefer a lighter wine with higher acidity and a drier taste, go for the Sauvignon Blanc.
2. Which of these is the sweetest: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay?
While both Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay are dry wines, Chardonnay tastes sweeter than Pinot Grigio because of its lower acidity.
3. Does Pinot Grigio have a sweet taste?
No. Pinot Grigio is typically produced in a dry style with no leftover sugar. Although it has subtle and inoffensive fruit notes, some individuals wrongly believe that it has a sweet taste.
4. Does Sauvignon Blanc have a sweet taste?
No. Sauvignon Blanc is typically made in a dry style without any residual sugar. Even though they might have strong, tangy tropical fruit flavors, some individuals might mistakenly perceive them as “sweet”. Therefore, it’s essential to understand that in general, Sauvignon Blanc is a dry wine.
5. What is the difference between Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc?
Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are both white wines, but they have different taste profiles. Sauvignon Blanc is usually more acidic with tropical and herbaceous notes, while Pinot Grigio is milder with soft fruit flavors and a hint of spice.
6. Is Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc less sweet?
Both Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are dry wines crafted without residual sugar. However, due to its soft fruit flavors and a hint of spice, Pinot Grigio may give the impression of being drier than Sauvignon Blanc.
7. What are the five levels of wine classification?
The wine sweetness scale consists of 5 levels: Dry, Off-Dry, Medium, Sweet, and Very Sweet.
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.