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Chenin Blanc vs Sauvignon Blanc

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Similarities of Chenin Blanc vs. Sauvignon Blanc

Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc have many similarities. Both wines are delicious, white wines originating in France. These wines are both well balanced with a medium body and moderate alcohol content. Both wines tend to be higher in acidity and offer bright, fruit-forward flavor.

The grapes of these wines can also be notoriously difficult to grow if the environmental conditions are not just right, and that can make cultivation unpredictable.

Differences of Chenin Blanc vs. Sauvignon Blanc

While both wines originated in France, they come from different regions. Chenin Blanc is primarily found in the Loire Valley, but can also be found in Savennieres, Vouvray, and Anjou. The styles will vary from dry to sweet, or even sparkling, depending on the region, with Savennieres being the driest and Anjou producing some of the sweetest wines.

Sauvignon Blanc is primarily found in Bordeaux, but New Zealand is also a major producer of this wine and the wine the country is most known for. This wine is going to be much more crisp and refreshing than Chenin Blanc, and is more versatile for food pairings.

Chenin Blanc tends to be more expensive than Sauvignon Blanc, but this has more to do with availability than quality. Sauvignon Blanc is much more readily available at your local grocer.

How to Distinguish Between Chenin Blanc vs. Sauvignon Blanc

You can identify Chenin Blanc by its rich flavors of stone fruit, nuts, and honey. It also has a rounder mouthfeel and slightly less acidity than Sauvignon Blanc, and ranges in color from pale straw to light amber. The oaked styles will have flavors of buttered popcorn, brioche, or butterscotch and is often compared to Chardonnay.

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc is its grassy, herbaceous notes and its clean, vegetal aroma. It has a moderate straw to deep yellow color and is also identifiable by its bright, effervescent acidity.

Chenin Blanc vs. Sauvignon Blanc Comparison Chart

Characteristic Chenin Blanc Sauvignon Blanc
Sweetness Dry – Sweet  Dry
Acidity Medium – High  High
Tannins Low Low
Body Medium Medium
Tasting Notes Yellow apple, lime, pear, quince, ginger, honey, chamomile, nuts, nutmeg, marzipan Grapefruit, white peach, honeydew, passion fruit, jalapeño, grass, mineral
Popularity 9,900 Monthly Searches 60,500 Monthly Searches
Calories Per Glass 120 119
ABV % 12 – 14.5% 11.5 – 13.5% 

Pairing Food With Chenin Blanc & Sauvignon Blanc

The fuller body of Chenin Blanc makes it a great pairing for richer dishes like roasted chicken or pork, while the acidity brings balance to creamy dishes, like fettuccine alfredo or spicy Asian cuisine. It’s also a wonderful complement to gourds, such as squash, zucchini, or even pumpkin. Pair one of the sweeter styles with a slice of pumpkin pie at your next Thanksgiving.

Sauvignon Blanc, on the other hand, will elevate your lighter dishes. The minerality is a wonderful complement to seafood and the lemon flavor often found in entrées of fish is well accompanied by the citrus notes in the wine. The acid and citrus of the wine, along with its herbal notes, also make it the perfect match for almost any salad or light vegetable dish.