Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are two very popular types of white wines. These two wines, however, have many noticeable differences. In this article we will be comparing their differences in terms of:
- Alcohol by Volume (ABV%)
- Food pairings
- Caloric Content
- Serving and Storage
So make sure to stay with us until the end to discover more about these popular white wines.
Both of these white wines are, most commonly dry, made from grapes that are native to France.
You will find Sauvingon Blanc cultivated in many regions around the world. These include the celebrated region of Loire Valley in France, Napa Valley in the USA, South Africa and New Zealand.
Pinot Grigio is cultivated in European countries including Italy, France and Germany. Pinot Grigio is also known as Pinot Gris in French, so don’t be confused if you find both of these names used.
The main difference between these two wines are their aromas. Pinot Grigio has the ability to be made both in stainless steel tanks with no oak aging (Italian style) and to go through malolactic fermentation and be aged in oak barrels, that make it more aromatic (French Style).
If you’re looking to expand your palate and move forward from Chardonnay wines, these alternatives are the best ones to try. Let’s have a look at each of these popular white wines before we go forward with their comparison.
Sauvignon Blanc Overview
Sauvignon blanc grapes are green-skinned and originate from the Bordeaux region of France. It is speculated that the grape gets it’s name from the French words “sauvage” (meaning “wild”) and “blanc” (meaning “white”).
Sauvignon blanc grapes are cultivated all over the world. They produce crisp, refreshing, dry wines, and they can also be used in blends or to create sweet wines, like Sauternes.
Depending on the climate where Sauvignon blanc grapes are grown, the flavors can range from grassy to tropical. In cooler climes, the grape tends to produce wines with high acidity and “greener” flavors, such as grass and green bell peppers.
In warmer climes, it can develop more tropical fruit aromas. Historically, this was one of the first wine varieties that was ever bottled with a screw cap, especially in the New Zealand market. It is also best consumed young, as it doesn’t really benefit from aging. Aged Sauvignon Blancs tend to have strong vegetal aromas like peas and asparagus.
Pinot Grigio Overview
Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio and Grauburgunder are all different names for the same popular white wine. According to historians, the Pinot Gris grape originated in the Burgundy region and spread all over the world.
It is thought to be a variant of the Pinot Noir variety and normally has a grayish-blue color. The word “pinot” is speculated to have been given to the grape because the grapes are grown in small pine cone-shaped clusters.
Pinot Gris grapes can also give very different wines depending on where they are grown. In France you’ll find more spicy and full bodied wines, while in Italy they are more acidic and lighter-bodied.
In New Zealand the wines have moderate to low acidity, higher alcohol levels and an “oily” texture that makes the wine appear more full-bodied.
In this area, it’s also common for Pinot Grigios to go through malolactic fermentation to convert sharp malic acid into creamy lactic acid. This process is very common for Chardonnay wines and almost all reds. The flavors might range from ripe tropical fruit notes like melon and mango to botrytis-like undertones.
Sauvignon Blanc vs. Pinot Grigio: A Comparison
Now that we’ve gotten more familiar with these wine varietals, let’s have a look at some of their differences, and similarities, in terms of the characteristics mentioned in the beginning of the article. Given the fact that both of these wines are cultivated in many areas of the world, the different soil and climatic conditions can affect the final wine in various ways. In this table we will see the most common attributes of these wines.
|Characteristic||Sauvignon Blanc||Pinot Grigio|
|Acidity||High||Moderate to High|
|Body||Light to Medium||Light to Medium|
|Color||Pale yellow-gold color with characteristic green hues||Pale, light yellow|
|Aromas||Cool climate: grassy and vegetal aromas.|
Warm climate: aromas of fresh herbs.
|Almond, Honeysuckle, Honey. If the wine has gone through malolactic fermentation and aging you’ll find aromas of spices.|
|Taste||Cool climate: Gooseberry, passionfruit, honeydew|
Warm climate: Grapefruit, melon, white peach.
|Cool climate: Gooseberry, passionfruit, honeydew|
Warm climate: Grapefruit, melon, white peach.
|Alcohol by Volume (ABV)||12.5-13.5%||12.5-13.5%|
|Food Pairings||Seafood, pasta, white meats, mild vinaigrettes and medium-soft cheeses.||Seafood, creamy pasta and mozzarella cheese. Think Italian cuisine and you won’t fail.|
|Calories||About 122 calories in a 5-oz serving||About 123 calories in a 5-oz serving|
|Serving & Storage||Serve cold, 45-55°F.|
Consume fresh or keep it in your cellar for 3-5 years after vintage.
If recorked and refrigerated it can stay fresh for 5-7 days.
|Serve ice cold, 45°F.|
It is recommended to enjoy it within 2 years after it has been bottled. If stored in ideal conditions it can remain fresh for up to 5 years.
If recorked it can stay fresh in the fridge for 5-7 days.
These two popular white wines are very different when it comes to aromas and flavors, but somehow very similar when we consider the other characteristics mentioned in the article. With summer right around the corner, having a couple of bottles of these wines chilled and ready in your fridge is an excellent idea for when you have people over or for when you want to relax and enjoy a chilled glass of vino after a long day.
As we already mentioned, these wines are produced in many different parts of the world, so we definitely suggest trying a few of them and spot the differences. We’re looking forward to listening to your thoughts and comments!