Even those who have never consumed wine have heard of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. These are among some of the most popular white wines in the world for their crispness and dry profile.
Despite this, they shouldn’t be lumped together, because Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are individual wines in their own right.
The key difference between Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio is that Sauvignon Blanc is generally more acidic than Pinot Grigio. As a result, Sauvignon Blanc possesses a tart and crisp flavor profile, whereas Pinot Grigio is generally more of a neutral wine.
Still, it’s clear why these dry white wines are so popular. Here is everything you need to know about the differences between Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, and how to choose which one you might prefer.
What Is Sauvignon Blanc?
Firstly, let’s take a look at what these individual wines are and how they are made.
Sauvignon Blanc is a dry white wine made from the grape variety of the same name, originating from Bordeaux, France.
Nowadays, Sauvignon Blanc grapes are grown across the world to brew this popular wine, including Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Romania, South Africa, California, Oregon, and Washington.
The grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures. This allows the grapes to turn into alcohol while retaining the fruity flavors.
As with all dry white wines, the long fermentation period works to reduce the residual sugar content, resulting in a crisp, tart, yet fruity wine.
What Is Pinot Grigio?
Pinot Grigio is made from the grape variety of the same name, originally grown in Burgundy, France. Nowadays, the grape is grown to brew the wine across the world, including Tasmania, South Africa, South Australia, Marlborough, Washington, and Oregon. The location of the grapes will result in the acidity of the wine.
Pinot Grigio is made similarly to most dry white wines, wherein the grapes are harvested and crushed and fermented in stainless steel tanks.
Due to the nature of the grapes, this results in a fairly low acidic wine, which is why Pinot Grigio is seen as the standard neutral white wine.
Sauvignon Blanc Aroma
The aroma of Sauvignon Blanc is unmistakable. It holds a pungent smell, with aromas including grapefruit, white peach, ripe passion fruit, and sometimes mango.
Alongside such fruity aromas is the distinctive smell of vegetal aromas, such as peas, asparagus, green bell pepper, and freshly cut grass.
Pinot Grigio Aroma
Just like its flavor profile, the aroma of Pinot Grigio is mild yet appetizing. It exhibits tones of white peach, lemon, honeysuckle, green apple, and pear.
Depending on the winemaker, you might also receive hints of almond and other baking spices. In most cases, however, Pinot Grigio possesses a subtle aroma.
What Does Sauvignon Blanc Taste Like?
The taste of each Sauvignon Blanc bottle will taste different depending on the winemaker and manufacturing process.
In most cases, however, Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp wine that features notes of fresh herbs, lime, elderflower, green apple, peach, gooseberry, and passionfruit.
Interestingly, the herbaceous and vegetal flavors noted in Sauvignon Blanc are as a result of the compound pyrazine, which is found in the grapes.
This is especially true for quality Sauvignon Blanc editions made in France, wherein the wines hold notes of green bell pepper.
Due to the fermentation process of Sauvignon Blanc, it is considered a dry wine (You might also want to check out How Many Calories In Sauvignon Blanc?). The grapes are fermented for a long time, which naturally reduces the residual sugar content.
However, some New World winemakers will add residual sugar into the wine to make a richer, thicker texture.
The tartness of the Sauvignon Blanc grapes carries through to the wine, even after a long fermentation process, resulting in a more acidic wine compared to Pinot Grigio.
What Does Pinot Grigio Taste Like?
Pinot Grigio is a neutral flavored white wine that features mild fruit flavors. It’s far more subtle than Sauvignon Blanc, featuring hints of pear, lemon, apple, and a little bit of spice.
Pinot Grigio is uncomplicated and simple, yet crisp and perfect when served chilled.
While it mostly depends on the winemaker and the manufacturing process, Pinot Grigio is generally a light wine that is easy to sip. This wine will also exhibit subtle notes of honeysuckle, grapefruit, and green apple.
Pinot Grigio has a lower acidity than Sauvignon Blanc, resulting in a more neutral flavor profile. It’s also less zingy and tart, which is why it’s generally seen as the ideal dry white wine for beginners.
Depending on the winemaker, some Pinot Grigio will have added residual sugar to add more sweetness.
What Food Goes Well With Sauvignon Blanc And Pinot Grigio?
Due to the refreshing acidity of Sauvignon Blanc, this wine pairs best with light dishes such as seafood.
This is especially true for seafood dishes that come with citrus flavors, such as a slice of lemon alongside oysters, crab, lobster, prawns, scallops, and clams.
However, the citrus and tart flavors of Sauvignon Blanc also makes this a great wine to pair with spicy foods, as it helps to enhance the flavors behind the spice.
Thai food, in particular, is great for pairing with Sauvignon Blanc – especially herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc varieties that work to enhance vegetal flavors.
Sauvignon Blanc also pairs well with cheese, specifically goat cheese, Swiss, Brie, Feta, Gruyère, and Fontina.
Pinot Grigio is arguably more diverse than Sauvignon Blanc when it comes to pairing with foods. Thanks to its neutral flavor profile, you can basically pair Pinot Grigio with any dish, including chicken, pork, seafood, pasta, salad, pizza, and more.
The light fruity flavors are mild and complimentary to most dishes, which is partly why it’s so popular.
The general rule with pairing foods with Pinot Grigio is to stick to light dishes. This wine is designed to enhance subtle flavors in light dishes, rather than disappear among potent flavors, such as spice or tomato-based sauces.
Sauvignon Blanc Vs Pinot Grigio: Which Is Better?
It’s not easy to say which is the superior white wine between Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, because it all comes down to personal preference.
While a Sauvignon Blanc might sound more appealing due to its more prominent flavors, you also can’t go wrong with the simplicity and mild flavor of a Pinot Grigio.
It also comes down to what mood you are in. Are you feeling something tart and fruity, or something a little more subtle?
So, there you have it! Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are two incredibly popular dry white wines, and for good reason. Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand the differences between them.
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