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

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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

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