Sauvignon Blanc Vs Pinot Grigio: Comparing Two Great Wines

When it comes to white wine, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are two of the most popular. 

Sauvignon Blanc Vs Pinot Grigio: Comparing Two Great Wines

Therefore, they are sometimes confused with one another. It doesn’t help that both wines originate in France, are dry (unless residual sugar is used), and are light-bodied. 

However, the main difference between the two wines is the use of grapes – each providing distinct flavors and notes. 

While choosing between the wines can sometimes be difficult, each features unique differences that make them stand on their own. 

With this in mind, this article will explore everything you need to know about Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. 

Let’s get started. 

What Is Sauvignon Blanc?

Arguably, Sauvignon Blanck is the most popular white wine in the entire world. 

The green-skinned grape used to make this wine comes from France, however, the exact region remains up for debate – many believe it to be Bordeaux. 

The grape’s name translates to “wild white” which is a reference to its indigenous form in the South West of France. 

While it is produced and cultivated in many countries all over the world, the grapes generally produce a dry, crisp, yet incredibly refreshing flavor and light color. 

A fun fact about this wine was that it was one of the first to be bottled using a screw cap.

What Is Pinot Grigio?

Pinot Grigio is made from a type of white wine that is commonly found all around the world.

In fact, it is the second most-used white wine grape in America – making it one of the best wine styles in the world. 

For centuries, there has been debate surrounding the exact origins of Pinot Grigio.

However, it is likely that the wine style originated in Italy while the variety of grapes originated in Burgundy, France. 

This style of wine is referred to by the French as Pinot Gris. 

That said, these two countries aren’t the only countries that produce Pinot Grigio.

For instance, in Switzerland it is known as Maviose, in Germany it is known as Rulander, and in Hungary, it is referred to as Szürkebarat. 

Although, you should keep in mind that while each region will follow a similar method and body structure of the wine, the flavor profiles will be vastly different. 

What Is The Difference Between Pinot Grigio And Sauvignon Blanc?

The main difference between Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc is its aromatic qualities. 

For instance, Pinot Grigio doesn’t contain a strong smell and is known for being neutral. 

On the other hand, Sauvignon Blanc is particularly aromatic – it can’t go unnoticed! Since Sauvignon Blanc is so flavorsome, the scent jumps out of the glass and fills your senses. 

Most people believe white wine to look the same, however, if you’re an avid drinker, you’ll know that each style of wine has distinct differences. 

For example, Pinot Grigio tends to be lighter-bodied, making it lighter in color. It contains hints of gold and green with a similar color to straw. 

Moreover, the fresher Pinot Grigio is, the clearer it tends to be. 

In comparison, Sauvignon Blanc tends to be a deeper shade of yellow.

Despite sharing a similar appearance, you’ll be able to distinguish the two together since Sauvignon Blanc features darker shades of yellow and has prominent gold hues. 

Sauvignon Blanc Vs Pinot Grigio: Taste

Sauvignon Blanc Vs Pinot Grigio: Comparing Two Great Wines

What Does Pinot Grigio Taste Like?

Since it is a less aromatic grape, the flavor profile of Pinot Grigio tends to be more neutral when compared to Sauvignon Blanc (see also “Pinot Grigio Vs Chardonnay: Comparing Great Wine Varieties“). 

When it comes to some of the lighter styles, you really have to get your nose stuck into the glass to reach those aromas. 

Fruit-driven wine varieties tend to contain an abundance of citrus notes, including lime and lemon. Plus, you may even find stone and green fruits, like white peach and green apple. 

These styles generally always feature a higher acidity (however, this isn’t as acidic as Sauvignon Blanc) and tend to be drier. 

Moreover, the alcohol content of the wine usually falls in the medium range. 

Pinot Gris from Alsace features a richer and riper style thanks to added spice and honey. Common ingredients include ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. 

Furthermore, you can find a variety of sweetness levels. For sentences, you can get dry to dessert-worthy wines

The sweetest – including Sélection de Grains Nobles and Vendanges Tardives – tend to be harvested later and may feature rot (don’t worry, this is a good type of rot that helps to concentrate the sugars in the wine).

What Does Sauvignon Blanc Taste Like?

Generally speaking, all Sauvignon Blancs features a dry taste. Plus, they are known to contain high levels of acidity. This makes your mouth water like crazy after a sip. 

Likewise, the Sauvignon Blanc grape is one in a handful that has high levels of pyrazines – this creates a smell and taste that is herbaceous, thin asparagus, and green bell peppers! 

However, if the grapes are less ripe, they can create a more pronounced flavor (that can sometimes be unpleasant). 

On the other hand, high-quality versions, especially from the Loire Valley, provide a savory and fresh quality to the drink (like basil, mint, and parsley). 

Sauvignon Blanc found in this region can have a scent reminiscent of grass, wet stones, and lime, too – the mineral smell after a fresh rain. 

The new world style that was made famous in New Zealand features more fruity and floral aromas. However, it still maintains its herbal notes, too. 

For instance, the result is grapefruit, elderflower, and passion fruit flavors. 

Plus, you can’t forget the classic descriptor, gooseberry, either. This is like a grape but more acidic. When done wrong it can smell like cat urine! 

When it comes to oak styles, you’ll get less fruity and floral aromas and more creamy flavors, like butter and lemon curd. 

Sauvignon Blanc Vs Pinot Grigio: Grape Variety

Sauvignon Blanc

This type of wine is produced using Sauvignon Blanc grapes. 

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris

This type of wine is produced using Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris grapes. 

Final Thoughts

Two of the most popular white wines in the world are Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Therefore, it is no wonder that they get confused with one another. 

Despite sharing a similar appearance, they have very different aromas and flavor profiles – something any wine connoisseur can distinguish. 

The main difference between the two wines is their aromatic qualities. For instance, Pinot Grigio tends to be more subtle than Sauvignon Blanc.

Jon Barbieri
Scroll to Top