Tags: Grape & Wine Varietals

When it comes to white wine, there are so many different types to choose from. But today, we’ll take a close look at what exactly is the difference between Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc? The Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are known to have fresh and crisp qualities; however, both wines have a wide variety of styles that depend heavily on the climate and condition in which they are produced.

What is Pinot Grigio?

millon impressionist 2021 pinot grigio

This variety has come a long way since its origins in the Burgundy region of France, tracking its heritage all the way back to the Middle Ages. Pronounced Pi-No Gri-Jio or Gri (silent S), these grapes spread to other parts of Europe over time, including Italy and Germany. Historically, northern Italy has been known for producing over half of the world's Pinot Grigio. Despite the first Pinot Grigio/gris vines being planted in Australia in 1832, it was not until a decade later that the variety became popular and soon turned into one of the country's most popular wine.

The name "Pinot" derives from the French term for "pinecone" to reflect the tight cluster of grapes in a pinecone shape and gris meaning 'grey' due to the grape having a greyish shine when ripe. Born in France as 'Pinot Gris', the grapes made their way to Italy where they adapted to the new environment and were named 'Pinot Grigio'. However, both names- Pinot gris and grigio- have been introduced to the new world, causing headaches ever since. Nevertheless, despite the slight differences in their names, the grapes remain the same.

Regardless of the name, the Australian Pinot Grigio is a white wine that can come in various styles, from fresh and zesty to full-bodied and textured.

What is Sauvignon Blanc?

white wine pour

Sauvignon Blanc emerged in the Loire Valley region of France as far back as the 1500s. The name, pronoucned Savy-on Blonc, comes from two words in French: Sauvage, meaning wild, and Vigne, meaning vine. The reason for its name was because the vines grew in such 'wild' manner. First introduced to New Zealand in the 19th century, the grape eventually impacted Australian wine drinkers in the 2000s. Because of the country's natural environment which allowed the production of flavoursome grapes, New Zealand has been considered the world's leading producer of Sauvignon Blanc in the new world.

Like the Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc can come in a wide range of styles, depending on the climate and conditions in which they are grown.

Related: Tempranillo Vs Shiraz

Pinot Grigio Compared to Sauvignon Blanc

impressionist pinot grigio

Characteristics

While both wines have many similarities, the main differences between the two whites are the aromas. Pinot Grigio is more neutral and reserved on the nose, while Sauvignon Blanc is noticeably sharper and more aromatic.

Pinot Grigio is generally considered to be better when grown in cooler climates. This is due to their ability to preserve higher acidity. Eden Valley, South Australia, is known to produce award-winning pinot grigio showcasing common characteristics of stone fruit and lemon zest. Similarly, Sauvignon Blanc thrives in cooler climates such as an Eden Valley Sauvignon Blanc. The variety is known to be a dry wine, sometimes drier than the pinot grigio, with stronger herbaceous aromatics such as freshly cut grass, bell peppers or even jalapenos.

Wine pairings

pinot grigio and food

Being a neutral, mellow and lighter-bodied wine, Pinot Grigio would pair best with a light and fresh meal such as antipasti, sushi, salad and chicken. By pairing Pinot Grigio with delicate flavours, it balances the weight of the wine with the weight of the food perfectly.

As a high acidic and citrus wine, Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with smooth cheeses, salmon, Mexican and Thai foods. The crisp natural acidity counterbalances the fattiness displayed in cheeses and salmon, and balances well with creaminess of the cheese. With citrus notes of lime, Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect match with the chilies present in Mexican and South-East Asian dishes.

But if you’re looking for a good wine for cooking, both Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are your go-to whites!

Pinot Grigio or gris and Sauvignon Blanc are both great choices for an everyday wine. They are both versatile and can be enjoyed on their own or with food. So, next time you are deciding which wine to buy, remember that Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are both great options. If you are looking for a fruity wine, go with Pinot Grigio. If you are looking for an herbaceous wine, go with Sauvignon Blanc. And if you can't decide, why not get both?!

Related: What You Need to Know about Pairing Cheese and Wine

Cheers!