Wine Information & Reviews | Vino Critic

Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio

with No Comments

Similarities of Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Grigio

Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are both French varietals and are among the most famous white wines in the world. 

They are light and crisp wines, best suited for growing in cool-climate regions. Pinot Grigio is more widely grown, but both varietals are cultivated extensively outside of France. 

The original French name for Pinot Grigio is Pinot Gris, but due to the popularity of the Italian style, and it being Italy’s main non-sparkling white wine, it is labeled as Pinot Grigio more commonly. 

Neither of these wines usually benefit from extended cellaring and are best enjoyed in their youth. 


Differences of Sauvignon Blanc Versus Pinot Grigio

Sauvignon Blanc originates from the South East of France and is grown in Bordeaux. Pinot Grigio’s earliest mention was in Burgundy in the Middle Ages but is more commonly associated with the Alsace region of France, and Italy as a whole. 

Despite their similarities, it’s not too difficult to tell a Sauvignon Blanc from a Pinot Grigio. Pinot Grigio comes in two broad styles, the Italian style, which is acidic, light and crisp, and the French Alsatian style, which comes from a later harvest. Alsatian style is slightly fuller bodied, less acidic, fruitier and spicier. 

Unlike Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc is produced in similar styles worldwide. However, in slightly warmer climates, such as those found in New Zealand, the wine can pick up elements of the terroir and is distinctly more vibrant and fruit-forward than Old World iterations. 

Pinot Grigio tends to be a little less acidic and can be described as more neutral on the nose, but more rounded and fruity in the mouth. It is more likely to have some sweet notes. 

How To Distinguish Between Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Grigio

Sauvignon Blanc, wherever it is grown, is more vibrant and acidic than Pinot Grigio. It will taste drier in the mouth, while Pinot Grigio is more clean, neutral and round. 

It is also more common to find notes of exotic fruits in Sauvignon Blanc, particularly in New World versions. On the whole, though, it leans towards flavors of passion fruit, grapefruit and green apple skin, while Pinot Grigio will contain more typical flavors of yellow apple and lemon. 

On the nose, Sauvignon Blanc can smell almost like grass, with some herbaceous and vegetal notes. This is one way to tell the difference – Sauvignon is more aromatic, and Pinot Grigio is more reserved. 

You might be able to perceive a slight difference in color. Pinot Grigio can vary, from pale straw yellow to coppery pink. Sauvignon Blanc is more likely to have a greenish hue in its light yellow color and is usually paler in color than other white wines. 

Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio Comparison Chart

Characteristic Sauvignon Blanc Pinot Grigio
Sweetness Dry Dry to Off-dry
Acidity High Medium to High
Tannins Low Low
Body Light to Medium Light to Medium
Tasting Notes Exotic and citrus fruits – peach, grapefruit, passion fruit and lemon. Grass, herbs, elderflower and green pepper.  Green, yellow and citrus fruits – Apple, pear, peach, lemon. Floral notes, minerality, honey, saline and grass.
Popularity 60,500 90,500 Monthly Searches
Calories Per Glass 120 cal 120 cal
ABV % 12 – 14% 10 – 14%

Pairing Food With Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Grigio

Light-bodied white wines and seafood are a perfect match, so Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are both suited for lemony seafood dishes and flaky white fish. The vegetal and citrus notes in Sauvignon Blanc are fantastic with a salad, while Pinot Grigio is better suited for slightly salty light dishes, such as Italian antipasti with olives.

Pairing Food With Sauvignon Blanc

Pairing Food With Pinot Grigio

All About Sauvignon Blanc

All About Pinot Grigio