On Wine


Pinot Grigio vs. Sauvignon Blanc

by Fred McMillin


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

(We last wrote about Pinot Grigio vs. Sauvignon Blanc two years ago.)

"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 "ree") my S.F. City College (Fort Mason) students tasted a number of Grigios matched against their Sauvignon Blanc counterparts—same vintage, same price range.

Peju Province Winery

Here they are:


$10 Max

Sauvignon Blanc, Monkey Bay Wines, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2008, $7
Pinot Grigio Private Selection, R. Mondavi Winery, California, 2009, $9
Sauvignon Blanc, Bogle Vineyards, California, 2009, $9


$15 Max

Pinot Grigio-"Tehachapi Clone", Forest Glen Winery (Bronco), California, 2009, $11
Pinot Grigio, Chateau Julien Wine Estate, California, 2009, $12
Pinot Gris, Cline Cellars,Sonoma County, 2008, $12


$20 Max

Pinot Gris-Limited, Daniel Gehrs Wines, Monterey, 2009, $19
Pinot Gris, King Estate, Oregon, 2009, $17
Sauvignon Blanc, Pedroncelli Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley, 2009, $16


$25 Max

Sauvignon Blanc, Peju Province Winery, Napa Valley, 2008, $22
Pinot Gris-Domaine, King Estate, Oregon, 2008, $25



Pinot Grigio is a newcomer to California, arriving only four decades ago. But, it has caught on fast. Our tasters tell us why, seven of the top eleven were Grigio-Gris. Case closed!


And a Final Wine Smile

An 18-year-old young man inherited a position on the board of directors of a large winery. At his first meeting, the board was deciding whether to plant an additional 1,000 acres of Chardonnay.

The board secretary announced the result of the voting. "We have two 'nays', nine 'yeas' and one 'no problem'."


Tastings: Edgar Vogt
Statistics: Ophie Mercado


Fred McMillin

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for over 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 © 2011, Fred McMillin. All rights reserved.

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