On Wine


Pinot Grigio vs. Sauvignon Blanc Faceoff


by Fred McMillin


Is the second most popular white wine in the U.S.A. Pinot Grigio?

"Pinot Grigio has overtaken Sauvignon Blanc in sales in the U.S., to become the number- two varietal white wine behind Chardonnay."
     —The Wine Enthusiast Magazine

To check out the Enthusiast report about Pinot Grigio (a.k.a. Pinot Gris or "gree") my S.F. City College (Fort Mason) students tasted a number of Grigios matched against their Sauvignon Blanc counterparts—same vintage, same price range.

Here are the best.

Our Top Picks
$12 Maximum
4th Grigio Montevina Vineyards, Calif., 2005, $10
3rd Grigio Crane Lake Winery, Calif., 2007, $5
2nd Blanc Hacienda Araucano, Valle Central, Chile, 2006, $11
1st Gris Oak Knoll Winery, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2006, $12
$20 Maximum
4th Grigio Bianchi Winery, Arroyo Grande Valley, 2006, $19
3rd Gris Kenwood Vineyards, Sonoma County, 2007, $16
2nd Gris Lake Sonoma Winery, Russian River Valley, 2007, $17
1st Gris King Estate, Oregon,2007, $17
Over $20
2nd Gris King Estate, Oregon, 2006, $25
1st Blanc Gary Farrell Winery, Sonoma County, 2007, $25


Pinot Grigio is a newcomer to California, arriving only four decades ago. But, it has caught on fast. Our tasters tell us why; eight of the top ten were Grigio-Gris.

Case closed!


A Final Wine Smile

A United States winery has a problem with a red wine tasting musty and moldy because a batch of corks was contaminated with the chemical 2, 4, 6-trichlororanisole. I ordered a case and sent it to the IRS.


Tasting: Edgar Vogt
Statistics: Ophelia Mercado


Fred McMillin

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He was voted one of the U.S.A's 22 Best wine writers by the Academy of Wine Communications. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.


Copyright © 2009, Fred McMillin. All rights reserved.


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