White wine is popular across the globe, with chardonnay, pinot gris, and sauvignon blanc as the prime contenders. But can you tell the world’s favourite white wines apart? Didn’t think so.
First of all, how is white wine made? It undergoes a fermentation process wherein grape skin doesn’t come into contact with the grape meat during the fermentation stages. This distinguishes white wine from other types of wine like champagne and red wine.
With that said, let’s take a look at two of the popular range of white wines – pinot gris and sauvignon blanc – and their different profiles.
Pinot Gris vs Sauvignon Blanc: Flavour Profiles
If we boil down the difference between these two varieties, Sauvignon Blanc is more aromatic, while Pinot Gris is more neutral.
Sauvignon wine comes in a variety of different styles, but it is always characterised by its strong acidity and herbaceous fragrance profile with grapefruit, gooseberry, and lime.
This wine’s distinct aromatics come from various parts of the wine world – from the iconic Sancerre of the Loire Valley in France to the fruity styles from the green pastures of New Zealand. The location of where the grape is born plays a key role in determining the signature flavour of the wine.
Pinot Gris is a dry white wine with a fruity punch. It strikes you with stronger acidity and features light herb flavours of limes, lemons, honeysuckle, and green apples.
The flavours vary between ripe tropical fruit notes of mango and melon to some botrytis like flavours. In Italy, Pinot gris grapes have an early harvest to maintain the refreshing acid texture while mellowing down the intense fruitiness of the variety, making the flavour profile more neutral. For an experienced wine enthusiast, pinot gris provides a refreshing respite under the heat of a long, summer day.
Pinot Gris vs Sauvignon Blanc: Food Pairs
These two white wines attract a different crowd with their slight, yet noticeable, contrast in palate. First, we’ll touch on the three subtypes of Pinot Gris.
Light bodied types go well with fish dishes and fresh shellfish, providing the right kick to the dish without overpowering the dish with too much flavour.
Medium bodied pinot gris is good for seared fish and roasted chicken as they tend to resemble New World wines with semblances of honeyed, spicy fruit and tart acidity.
Complex, full-bodied pinot gris pairs best with rich, succulent meats like veal, chicken, pork, creamy sauce dishes, and lamb dishes.
On the other hand, Sauvignon Blanc is primarily medium bodied across the board, with its racy acidity and fresh aromas. Green-infused dishes pair beautifully well with this white wine. Southeast Asian food such as Thai and Vietnamese, have many great pairing options with Sauvignon blanc due to their herbaceous and spice-rich cuisines.
With meat pairings, go for chicken, turkey, pork, and seafood. Vegetables like bell pepper, eggplant, and artichoke are great with the white wine and some meat. The Sauvignon Blanc is great for most cheeses too, such as parmesan, mozzarella di bufala, and goat cheese.
Now that you’ve wrapped your head around the differences, here are 2 great white wines to try!
Sauvignon Blanc: Counting Sheep
Counting Sheep is a brightly hued drop that rocks the same vibrant colour of ripe pineapples. Made from the pastures of New Zealand, Counting Sheep is a zesty and vibrant Sauvignon blanc white wine that brings touches of fruity flavours upon first sip. Aside from notable berry and apple fruit notes, it has a citrus zest and herbaceous lift which helps define the palate. This creates a clean, crisp, and smooth finish. If you’re looking for a no-fuss, reliable drink for any get-together, Counting Sheep is a good crowd pleaser to accompany your evenings.
Pinot Gris: The Ned
The Ned is a Pinot Gris fit for any occasion. New Zealand is home to many fresh and fragrant Pinot Gris variants, and many of them like The Ned come from the Marlborough winemaking region of the country. It has a balanced, fruity flavour of fresh apples and pear profiles. It’s also further balanced out with mandarin flavours, giving a zesty kick to this Pinot Gris. The Ned also has a more spicy undertone, which is the Pinot Gris’s most distinguishable feature. This spice makes it a great match for coriander packed curry and coconuts.