Pinot Blanc is the lost sibling of the Pinot family.

We’re all familiar with Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, two varieties of wine that get more than their fair share of attention, but what about Pinot Blanc? In theory, though this often tends not to be the case, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris are closely related siblings. The primary difference is that Pinot Gris is a gray grape and Pinot Blanc is a white one. In a world where extra Dry actually means a sweet wine, it should come as no surprise that the “white” grapes are actually golden to green and the “gray” grapes can be rosy red or even darker.

While the color is the main difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, the story is not quite so simple. The wines are somewhat different, with Pinot Gris capable of producing richer, spicier and more intense wines and Pinot Blanc tending toward a more mineral, firm and savory style. In general, I tend to prefer Pinot Blanc over Pinot Gris, which likely runs counter to the marketplace as witnessed by the pricing differential between the two varieties.

Pinot Blanc tends to be very fairly priced today because there is such a small market for it, which is a shame since Pinot Blanc is so fresh, crisp and friendly. It’s a wine that tends to be fun to drink, yet that can please people looking for either fruit or structure, since it has them both. It’s a great wine to move on to from Pinot Grigio, with which it shares similar flavor profiles. It can also serve as an introduction to leaner, more mineral wines such as Riesling and Grüner Veltliner. Try one or a few this week and see if you agree!

Let me know what you think about Pinot Blanc by commenting below.

Grapes image via Shutterstock