There’s nothing quite like a glass of chilled white wine to go with a dish of seafood, pasta, or salad. Choosing the right one can be tricky since this category still has a wide variety of white grapes and winemaking techniques to choose from.
Enter pinot grigio vs sauvignon blanc.
The comparison between these two grapes is unsurprising. Both of these grapes are known for having rather zesty and bright flavors. Both grapes are also grown in France (though the variety we’ll look at today is grown in Italy). Choosing the best white wine for your needs means diving deep into flavor notes, aroma, and storage techniques.
We’ll explain the differences and similarities between pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc below.
Pinot Grigio Vs Sauvignon Blanc
Both pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc are white wine grapes with decades of research and cultivation behind them. While boasting a few superficial similarities, these grape varieties are quite different in many ways.
A quick note: pinot grigio and pinot gris are the same grape grown in different countries. The former is grown in Italy, while the latter is grown in France. While we’ll focus on pinot grigio, we will occasionally mention Pinot Gris where applicable.
Breaking Down Pinot Grigio
We’ll start off the list with pinot grigio, a popular Italian spin on the vitis vinifera grape variety. This same grape is known as pinot gris in France and grauburgunder in Germany.
Pinot Grigio Hovers Between Dry and Semi-Sweet
Pinot grigio is beloved for being a rather balanced and approachable white wine, often hovering between dry and semi-sweet. To reiterate, dry wine is a term for any wine that is less sweet and has a drying effect on the tongue.
If you’re disinterested in sugary wines like Moscato, but aren’t feeling super dry whites, pinot grigio is a solid middle ground. These wines tend to be citrusy, but not too tart. A little sweet, but not too sugary.
Pinot Grigio Is Ideal for Sipping and Pairing
Pinot grigio is highly flexible and is able to be casually sipped or carefully paired with a meal. If you have any friends or acquaintances who want to try out new wine, keep a bottle of pinot grigio on hand.
Pinot Grigio is Best Consumed As Soon As Possible
White wines in general aren’t well-suited to aging. While many white wine varieties have a high acid content, their generally low tannins make them a secondary choice for long-term storage.
Pinot grigio is best consumed as soon as you get it. Double-check the bottle and make sure you’re not buying a vintage that’s more than three years old.
Breaking Down Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is held in high esteem in passionate wine circles, sauvignon blanc’s reputation can sometimes work against it. Depending on your tastes, this wine could be your new favorite or a little too rough on your palate.
Sauvignon Blanc is Very Dry, Crisp, and Tart
Comparatively, sauvignon blanc is a bone-dry wine that will leave your tongue feeling puckered. This mouthfeel is a dominant feature of this wine, even when grown in different climates.
Likewise, sauvignon blanc tends to have more tangy flavor notes than even the zesty pinot grigio. While pinot grigio often has ripe apple and pear flavors, sauvignon blanc leans toward lemon, green apples, and green bell peppers.
Sauvignon Blanc is Well-Suited to Pairing or Cooking
A unique appeal of sauvignon blanc vs pinot grigio is its propensity for bringing out the best in recipes. Its dry nature and citrus-focused flavors stay strong through the cooking process, adding a new layer of depth to your dish.
Common recipes for sauvignon blanc include:
- Roasted chicken
Sauvignon Blanc Has a Little More Aging Potential
The few white wines that can really stand the test of time are chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. If you feel like holding onto a bottle for a special occasion, this grape tends to hold up well to four or five years.
Make sure to double-check the vintage date (don’t age it if it’s already aged!) and store your wine bottles somewhere cool, dark, and dry.
Should You Have Pinot Grigio vs Sauvignon Blanc?
Which wines should you try? We have a few suggestions to get you started.
Drink Pinot Grigio if You Don’t Like Extremely Dry or Tart Wines
Dry and tart wines are often an acquired taste. Although pinot grigio is still a little dry, its slightly sweeter flavor notes and reduced acidity makes it more approachable.
Drink Pinot Grigio if You Enjoy Slightly Softer Fruit Flavors
Pinot grigio flavor notes run the medley of citrus to crunchy yellow fruit. Depending on the bottle you get, you might even enjoy aromas such as:
Subtle flavors pinot grigio can bear also include:
Drink Pinot Grigio if You Seek Easy Sipping Wine for Hot Weather
Pinot grigio is simply delightful when it’s chilled. The colder temperature brings out its acidity and exaggerates its sweetness, leaving you with a refreshing drink for hot weather.
Should You Have Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio?
You may find the sweeter and rounder characteristics of pinot grigio less appealing. Let’s take a look and see if sauvignon blanc is more your style.
Try Sauvignon Blanc if You Enjoy Cooking Wine-Based Recipes
Do you regularly find yourself whipping up new recipes in the kitchen? Pinot grigio’s somewhat sweeter and more honeyed flavors can be tricky to maintain in a recipe, but sauvignon blanc is another story entirely.
Fans of risotto, lasagna, or seafood dishes will adore the zesty splash of sauvignon blanc wines add to each recipe.
Try Sauvignon Blanc if You Enjoy Highly Dry, Acidic Wines
Do you lean toward citrus and mineral-type flavors in your wine? Sauvignon blanc’s sharp flavor notes and leans toward tropical fruit will be highly appealing.
Sauvignon blanc also bears striking aromas such as:
- Bell peppers
Depending on where you purchase your bottle, you may experience flavors such as:
- Passion fruit
- White peach
If you want a more oily mouthfeel or a softer aroma, try an oaked sauvignon blanc or sauvignon blanc blend.
Try Sauvignon Blanc if You Like to Save Bottles For Special Occasions
Do you want to keep your white wine on hand for your graduation day? How about a honeymoon or family gathering?
Sauvignon blanc’s extremely high acidity means you can keep it for four to five years without losing flavor. Remember to double-check the vintage date so you’re not taking on extra years on an already aged bottle.
What are the Pinot Grigio Prices?
Pinot grigio’s succulent and honeyed flavors aren’t the only accessible aspect of it. These white wines often run a little lower due to not needing aging processes.
The average bottle of pinot grigio runs between $5 to $15. Expect the highest price point not to exceed $50.
What are the Sauvignon Blanc Prices?
Comparatively, sauvignon blanc is a touch more expensive. Since this wine can be aged for a few years, the price point is able to be shuffled around much more.
Sauvignon blanc on the low-end hovers between $5 to $15. High-end bottles are able to reach price points of $250.
|Wine Breakdown||Pinot Grigio||Sauvignon Blanc|
|Flavor Notes||Pear, yellow apple, lemon, melon, honeysuckle||Lemon, lime, green apple, gooseberry, papaya|
|Aroma||Flowers, honey, saline||Grass, peppers, grapefruit|
|Mouthfeel||Medium to full-bodied, oily||Medium-bodied|
|Pairings||Grilled vegetables, chicken-based dishes, pasta salad||Shellfish, white fish, salad, rice-based dishes|
Feeling lost on the difference between wine grapes? We’ve also got a guide on the differences between merlot vs cabernet sauvignon here!