What's the difference between Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc wine?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

What's the difference between Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc?

—Thomas, Oceanport, N.J.

Dear Thomas,

The two most famous Sauvignons are the wine grapes Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. And they're related: Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross between Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. There are other Sauvignons out there, including Sauvignon Vert and Sauvignon Gris. Both Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon originated in France, and Sauvignon Blanc is likely a descendant of the Savagnin grape, which is best-known in France's Jura region.

If you see the word “Sauvignon” by itself, it’s usually referring to Sauvignon Blanc. It’s not unusual for wines to have nicknames—Zinfandel is often referred to as “Zin,” Pinot Noir is referred to as “Pinot” and Cabernet Sauvignon can be “Cabernet” or just “Cab.”

—Dr. Vinny

Red Wines White Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Sauvignon Blanc Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

What does the word “unctuous” mean in a wine tasting note?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the term "unctuous," typically ascribed to …

May 20, 2019

Are collectible wines still collectible after the wine has gone bad?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny talks to Penfolds winemaker Peter Gago about 50-year-old …

May 17, 2019

Why aren't bottles stored on their sides at wine stores?

Wine's Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why wine bottles need to be stored on their …

May 15, 2019

Is there a polite way to tell a winemaker that I'm not enjoying their wines?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny suggests a few etiquette tips for kindly declining an …

May 13, 2019

Do you swirl a glass of sparkling wine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why there's no need to swirl a glass of …

May 10, 2019

Is it OK to ask guests to bring expensive wine to a party?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny talks party etiquette.

May 8, 2019
WineRatings+

WineRatings+

Xvalues

Xvalues

Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search