Chardonnay Vs Pinot Grigio Vs Sauvignon Blanc

Wine Facts: Chardonnay Vs Pinot Grigio Vs Sauvignon Blanc

Angelica Nohra
Wine Importer | Wine List Consultant | Speaker

Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc. 

You keep hearing all of these wine varieties but you are too embaressed to say you don’t know what they are so you just settle for Moscato. Or a water. Whatever. 

It’s time to get educated! 

Firstly, it’s important to know these are all White Varietals. They can be grown all over the world but they are very different styles depending on where they are grown. 

Chardonnay is normally dry, has notes of rockmelon, lemon and vanilla (normally from maturing in oak) and sometimes a creamy, brioche aroma from malolactic fermentation. It can be buttery and creamy or crisp, mineral and acidic depending on where it was made and the wine style the winemaker is going for. If you don’t like big and buttery, go for a Chablis or Chablis style. It’s more austere and refined. The big Aussie chardonnays with butter and oak characters are definitely having a resurgence though! I’m a big fan (try the Pemberley Chardonnay from WA to understand why). 

Pinot Grigio (or Gris) are a lot softer and quite easy to drink. A Grigio is the Italian style of winemaking. It’s dryer, crisper and more herbaceous compared to the aromatic, creamy and sometimes ‘off-dry’ Gris. Off dry simply means its not bone dry. Both are good entry points into the white wine world. They both work really well with food or a day in the sun with the girls. 

Sauvignon Blanc is an interesting varietal because it too changes depending on the wine making style. The style with most popularity around the world right now is the new world or “Malborough” style. It is a pronounced/aromatic style of wine. It’s herbal with capsicum, passion fruit, tomato stem characters. It’s off dry but highly acidic (mouthwatering) so it makes you go back for more. It’s also an off-dry style of white wine so a lot easier to drink for a new wine drinker.

The French style of Sauvignon Blanc has a bit of oak aging, the fruit isn’t highly extracted which means the fruit is a lot more intergrated with the other elements of the wine. New world style Sauvignon Blanc  has always been a good entry point into wine drinking as well.

Even though I can’t handle the smell of it now, I can recall one of my first tastes of a Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc and falling in love with it...then my palate grew now it’s all about barrel aged sauvs or buttery chardonnays for me. 

I do hope that was helpful. My question to you is, what is your favourite varietal?


A MUST try for each varietal!

2017 Pemberley Chardonnay

Fruit for this fine Chardonnay was selected again from the same patch of the Pemberley vineyard, recognised as one of the premier vineyard sites in Pemberton. The cool climate region of Pemberton is renowned for growing some of the most exciting Chardonnay in Western Australia.

Sensi "Collezione" Pinot Grigio Veneto IGT

Aged in steel for 8 months, ages in bottle for 2 months. The aromatic and fresh taste renders it particularly adapted to match salamis and medium-seasoned cheeses as we as a wide range of complicated dishes.  Crisp, dry and herbaceous. Exactly how the Italians wanted it to taste!

Kono - Sauvignon Blanc

A brilliant pale green in the glass, this pure and bright Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has a vibrant fruit driven nose bursting with citrus fruits and passionfruit. On the palate luscious fruit flavours of ripe tropical fruits and lifted herbaceous notes are finely balanced with zesty acidity, an underlying minerality, and just a hint of residual sweetness. Juicy, crisp and fresh this wine leads to a long and dry, persistent finish.

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