Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio: What Are The 8 Important Differences To Know?

Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio
This is our comparison of Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio. Do you know the 8 key difference? Let's find out!

This is our comparison of Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio. We’ve extensively researched these two popular wines to help you pick the best for you.

Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are some of the most popular and affordable white wines in the world. 

Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio share some similarities in terms of food pairings and structure.

They both tend to be light and crip and pair very well with salty food and a variety of fish. 

Pinot Gris, the French style of Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, has more complexity, a different structure, and pairs well with bolder flavors like foie gras, pork, and meaty fish.

Find below our wine guide on the most important differences between these two great wines.

Our recommendation for Best Value Sauvignon Blanc is Domaine du Salvard Cheverny Blanc 2020 and for Best Overall is Gérard Boulay Clos de Beaujeu Sancerre 2019.

Our recommendation for Best Value Pinot Grigio is Italo Cescon Pinot Grigio and for Best Overall is Vie di Romans – Dessimis Pinot Grigio 2019.

You’ll find below our recommendation for you. Let’s begin with the review!

Wine Selection Overview

Find below our Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio wine selection for you where you’ll find our recommendation for you.

Sauvignon Blanc Selection

Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc
2021
4.2/5

Truly exceptional wine made. Nose bursting with passionfruit, melon and citrus, hints of grass. 

Crisp and bright on the palate, with refreshing acidity and layers of juicy fruit flavors.

Perfect with seafood, salads, fried food, white meat, lighter cheeses, and tomato dishes. Best served chilled.

Seriously, for the quality you get, less than $15 is a gift!

Domaine du Salvard Cheverny Blanc
2020
4.2/5

A pale straw in the glass with light fleeting scents of jalapino & bell pepper cloaked in scents of wet stone and citrus.

In the mouth there was good minerality that transitioned into flavors of lemon zest in the midpalate and then closed with good acidity and minerality.

For the price, it is a true bargain! Be quick…

Gérard Boulay Clos de Beaujeu Sancerre
2019
4.6/5

Ripe, exotic nose of grapefruit, melon, and sweet floral essences. 

A lush and juicy, with striking creaminess of texture and a polished finish.

This is an outstanding Sauvignon Blanc at a very competitive price for the quality.

Try it with goat cheese and you’ll be in heaven!

Pinot Grigio Selection

Cielo e Terra
Pinot Grigio
3.7/5

It has straw yellow with green reflections.

It has bread crust and green apple. It has fresh and drinkable, perfect on a hot day.

You’ll find it for less than $10. That’s a pretty good value for money if you ask me!

Italo Cescon
Pinot Grigio
4.1/5

This wine has a straw yellow color, intense, with slight notes of nutmeg, peach leaf broken citrus. Dry and cool.

Net ripe and fruity scents, all the orange zest, full flavor fills the long mouth.

Ah, it cost less than $20… I’ll be quick if I were you.

Vie di Romans - Dessimis Pinot Grigio 2019
4.4/5

This is not the usual Pinot Grigio and it will blow you away. 

“Delightful Pinot Grigio, easily the best I’ve had to date” says Chiara & Philippe from the Vivino community.

Copper-colored from the natural grape skin tint. The bouquet is full of sweet pastry aromas, scents of Williams pear skin, and notes of yellow fruit.

Expect a medium-body wine with complex oak, pear, peach, and honey notes. 

Comparison

Let’s now take a closer look at the difference between Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio so that you’ll have enough details to make an informed decision.

Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio: Where are they produced?

Here you’ll find a brief overview of Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio from regions and wine styles points of you.

Regions and winemaking techniques influence the taste profiles of both wines. The typical taste profiles depending on the region, for Sauvignon Blanc vs Chardonnay, are as follows:

Sauvignon Blanc ripens early and grows best in cool climates like France, New Zealand, and Northern Italy. 

These wines tend to have high acidity, citrus fruit, and herbaceous flavors with some tropical fruit and floral notes.

In France, the climate slows the ripening of the vine which results in better acidity vs sugar balance and develops aromas intensity.

In warmer climates such as California, Washington, South Africa, and Chile, the tropical fruit notes intensify. 

This happens thanks to the over-ripening of the grapes, which, if not controlled will considerably reduce aromas. Find more about Sauvignon Blanc here.

Cool climates help Pinot Grigio grow at its best and mature relatively early causing high sugar levels. 

Depending on the vinification style, this can lead to either a wine high in alcohol if fermented to dryness, or a sweeter wine.

Minerally and Dry Pinot Grigio is primarily from the northern part of Italy and precisely Lombardia, Trentino Alto Adige, and Veneto.

Fruity and Dry Prinot Grigio is primarily from Italy (north-east Italy, Toscana, Abruzzo, and Sicilia, USA (California, Oregon, and Washington), and New Zealand.

Fruity and Sweet Pinot Gris is primarily from Alsace in France. 

Find more about Pinot Grigio here.

Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio: Which grapes are used to produce them?

Here you’ll find a brief overview of Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio from a grape point of view.

Sauvignon Blanc is produced from Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris is produced from Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris grapes.

Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio: What's their alcohol content?

Here you’ll find a brief overview of Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio from an alcohol content point of view.

Alcohol content or more precisely Alcohol By Volume, i.e. ABV, measures the alcoholic strength of a drink.

There is a direct relationship between the sugar left in the wine after the alcoholic fermentation has taken place, i.e. Residual Sugar or RS, and ABV.

During the alcoholic fermentation, the yeast transforms the sugar in the grape juice into alcohol.

Grapes with high residual sugar will therefore produce dry wine with a high ABV.

Sauvignon Blanc’s ABV is usually between 11.5% to 14%, whereas Pinot Grigio’s ABV ranges between 10% to 14% depending on the style. 

Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio: What's their taste profile?

Here you’ll find a brief overview of Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio from a taste profile point of you.

Sauvignon Blanc is a dry wine, with a pale lemon color. It’s known for its high acidity and typical green herbal flavors. 

Sauvignon Blanc’s typical flavors depend on the style. Here is a brief overview:

  • Loire Valley: white peach, lime, gooseberry 
  • Bordeaux: white peach, lime, beeswax, cream, and honeycomb
  • Marlborough: passion fruit, lime, grapefruit, pineapple, mango, gooseberry

Pinot Grigio (minerally and fruity style) it’s known for its dryness, high acidity, light-body, lemon, and apple notes. 

Pinot Gris (Alsace) on the other hand has more body, lower acidity, more complexity, and is sweeter.

Here is a brief overview of Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris typical flavors:

  • Pinot Grigio Minerally and Dry: apple, lemon zest, mineral.
  • Pinot Grigio Fruity and Dry: apple, lemon, white peach, pear, creamy.
  • Pinot Gris Fruity and Sweet: sweet lemon candy, honey, ginger, spice, ripe pear.

Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio: Are they sweet or dry?

Here you’ll find a brief overview of Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio in terms of sweetness level or residual sugar.

The sweetness level of a wine is expressed in grams of sugar per liter, aka g/L, or as a percentage.

10 g/L equals 1% which, if you are interested, represents 6 calories per 5 oz serving. 

You will usually find Sauvignon Blanc as a dry wine.

On the other side you can find Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris in various sweetness levels, that goes from dry to sweet.

  • A dry wine contains less than 15 g/L.
  • An off dry wine contains between 15-30 g/L.
  • A sweet wine contains between 50-100 g/L.

Learn more about wine sweetness level here.

Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio: Which are the right food pairings?

Here you’ll find a brief overview of Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio from a food pairings point of you.

Both Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are versatile wines and pair very well with many dishes. You’ll find below some suggestions.

Sauvignon Blanc pairs well Brussel sprouts, asparagus, salad, white meat like chicken and turkey, and various fish and shellfish including sushi. 

Cheese wise go for soft and cream cheese like Philadelphia and brie for example.

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris pairings depend on the style. 

Pinot Grigio goes well with salad and salty foods like french fries and salty olives. Chicken, shellfish, and grilled fish are common pairings. 

Cheese wise go with soft (Philadelphia) and creamy (Brie) cheese for the minerally version. Semi-soft (Fontina) and firm (Beaufort) for the fruity version.

Pinot Gris pairs well with stronger flavors like foie gras, cream sources, grilled vegetables, reach veal, pork, and meaty fish.

Cheese wise go for blue mold and hard cheese like Gorgonzola and Pecorino. 

Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio: How should you serve and store them?

Here you’ll find a brief overview of Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio in terms of serving and storing the wine.

Sauvignon Blanc shouldn’t be decanted and you can serve it at 45 – 50 °F (7 – 10 °C) in a Chardonnay or Viognier glass.[1]

The recommended storing period is 1-3 years for normal bottles.

Pinot Grigio shouldn’t be decanted. The service temperature and the storing period depend on the style.

For Minerally and Fruity Pinot Grigio serve at  45 – 50 °F (7 – 10 °C) in a Pinot Grigio or Viognier glass.

The recommended storing period is 2-3 years for normal bottles.

For Pinot Gris off-dry serve at 45 – 50 °F (7 – 10 °C) in a Pinot Grigio or Viognier glass. For Pinot Gris sweet serve at 43 – 56 °F (6 – 8 °C) in a Fortified glass. 

The recommended storing period is 3-5 years for normal bottles.

Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio: How much do they cost?

Here you’ll find a brief overview of Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio from a price comparison point of you.

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most famous and affordable white wines. The price generally ranges from $10-$40.

Where $20-$40 are generally the French and Italian wines, $10-$30 California and New Zealand wines. $10-$20 for the rest.

You can though also find Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux that costs over $1000 like Château Haut-Brion blanc AC Pessac-Léognan, 2007.

Pinot Grigio is an affordable wine. The price generally ranges from $10 – $30. Where $10 is usually the IGT Italian style and $30 the Alsatian style.

Our Verdict

If you have been through the guide, by now you are a Sauvignon Blanc vs Pinot Grigio expert!

Both Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are great wines and you should now have a good idea of what to expect from them.   

Our recommendation is therefore based on what you’d fancy the most at a particular given moment or event. 

Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinot Grigio dry versions are usually good choices for a hot summer day since they are refreshing, very light, and easy to drink.

Pinot Gris offers more complexity and can be paired with bolder flavors like reach veal, pork, or meaty fish. It’s therefore a more all-year-round wine in a sense.

Our recommendation for Best Value Sauvignon Blanc is Domaine du Salvard Cheverny Blanc 2020 and for Best Overall is Gérard Boulay Clos de Beaujeu Sancerre 2019.

Our recommendation for Best Value Pinot Grigio is Italo Cescon Pinot Grigio and for Best Overall is Vie di Romans – Dessimis Pinot Grigio 2019.

As always make sure to serve them at the right temperature to enjoy them at their best.

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