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Conduct a Wine Tasting with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay

Updated: Feb 23

Photo by: NatashaBreen

What does a Sauvignon Blanc taste like? What does a Chardonnay taste like? How do they compare to each other?

Could you easily explain this to someone? Maybe you’re already very familiar with the tastes and characteristics of these two popular wines. If you're not, then I’ve got a great tasting you should try.

This wine tasting will showcase the characteristics that make both of these varietals unique. By the end, you’ll be able to answer these questions easily and you’ll even be able to identify these two types of wine in the glass (not by needing to look at the label).

A Special Wine Tasting Event

You may be surprised that not many wine lovers can tell the difference between these two popular varietals. Once, I attended a wine event at the Union League Club of Chicago. One of our friends was a member and invited us to attend. It was such an amazing event. They had top-notch wineries sampling their best wines and they had an amazing spread of food.

We attended a wine class that explained the business of wine. Discussing how small boutique wineries run their businesses and price their wines compared to the large wineries. It was very interesting.

Of course, at this wine class, we did a tasting. They placed two glasses of white wine in front of us, asked us to take a sip of each, and then identify which was Sauvignon Blanc and which was Chardonnay. Do you know that most people in that room got it wrong! I was floored.

I thought this was a gimme question and that everyone would know the answer. It's so easy to assume that others know more about wine than you. The reality is that only a few key nuggets of information are needed to build a solid foundation of wine knowledge.

With that in mind, let’s get started learning some valuable insights about Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay Wine Tasting

Step 1: Pick Up the Wine

Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, California

When you pick up the Kendall Jackson make sure it’s the Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay. It’s award-winning and gets 90+ ratings from wine critics. It’s also aged in oak barrels. You want this one to make a good comparison of the two types of wine.

Step 2: Prep the Wine

Place both bottles in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. Or put them in the fridge overnight, then pull them out about 30 minutes before you plan to drink them. Refrigerators are usually set at 40°F and you want to serve this wine at about 50°F.

If the wine is too cold, the flavors and aromas won’t come through very well and you won’t get the best experience with the wine. This step may seem fussy, but it's an important one.

Step 3: Wine Glasses

Use two wine glasses for each person tasting. Pour Sauvignon Blanc in one and Chardonnay in the other. This will help you to easily compare each wine by look, aroma, and taste. Make sure to use actual wine glasses where the rim is smaller than the bowl.

I’m sure all of this seems obvious, but I did this tasting using small plastic glasses with the rim wider than the bowl. (Yes, I know. I didn't follow my own advice, but we had quite a few people and didn’t want to wash a bunch of wine glasses. Call us lazy!) It did make a difference. It was much harder to really capture those aromas of the wine.

Step 4: Conduct the Tasting

Download the wine tasting mat below. Follow the instructions. Answer the questions. The tasting mat will guide you through the tasting, pointing out the key characteristics of each wine. By the end, you’ll be able to easily tell the difference between each wine.

Now you'll have a few more nuggets of information to build your wine knowledge!

Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay Tasting - The Results

Do you have a favorite between Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay? Share in the comments below.


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