Pinot Blanc, Pinot Bianco, Weissburgunder.

No matter what you call it, this is one of the greatest values in wine today!


I’m often asked what my favorite wines are. Just today I was asked what “Which wine would an expert like you suggest for a hot summer?” No fooling. I replied “I'd drink a white wine, something light and crisp like Assyrtiko from Santorini in Greece, Vinho Verde from Portugal, or Vernacchia or Orvieto from Italy.” All great choices and certainly more than appropriate but when I really stop and think about it not only would I reach for a pinot Blanc, but I decided to do just that.

I don’t get many Pinot Blancs sent to me, and in a perfect world I would hope that more folks would make Pinot Blanc, perhaps instead of Pinot Gris which I find less interesting. At their best grand Pinot Blanc captures some of the power of Pinot Gris, with moderately rich and sometime slightly oily mouthfeels, but instead of layering on tart fruit and being done with it you get so much more with pinot Blanc.
You get minerality and a transparency that few Pinot Gris can match. After all Pinot Gris is a pretty red colored grape. It want to be a red wine, and producers need to work diligently to keep it clear and bright, even if that might not produce the best wine. Pinot Blanc on the other hand might be able to spend more time in contact with its skins. Somehow doesn’t develop the overt fruitiness of Gris, and just makes me want to take another sip. 
The three main sources for Pinot Blanc in the world are the Alto Adige, Oregon, and of course Alsace. Each produces many fine examples, though the altitude and climate of the Alto Adige produces my favorites. they tend to have great focus and depth as opposed to the more powerful and rich examples from Alsace, with oregon laying comfortably between the two stylistically.
I found a great example from Oregon, stunning really and two compelling wines from the Alto Adige among this small sampling. Some of the wines were a bit riper, and peachier, than I might have prefered but the best really deliver incredibly delicious and enjoyable drinking experience and we only about $16 a bottle! That’s world class drinking on a beer budget. That’s just one more reason to love Pinot Blanc!

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  • Snooth User: syoung51
    176730 11

    Unfortunately most of America and the world doesn't get the opportunity to taste Pinot Blancs from the Okanagan Region of British Columbia. Numerous wineries are producing excellent Pinot Blancs for under $20- One of the best - Lake Breeze Pinot Blanc - if you get a chance, try them !!

    Aug 06, 2014 at 12:01 PM

  • I'll throw in another region that makes really good Pinot Blanc in NA; northern lower Michigan. In the Leelanau peninsula there are several wineries that do a nice job with it but my favorite: Chateau Chantal. Just a beautiful expression of the grape, with an almost succulent body and layers of restrained fruit, the finish lasts forever. I think their really long, slow-developing season plays well to the grape, giving it weeks of maturation to develop its great character.

    Aug 06, 2014 at 5:12 PM

  • Well, since everyone else is laying in other regions, I'll add California; particularly a couple of blocks from Bien Nacido Vineyard in Monterey County. Labels to look for include Kynsi, Alapay and Donati. Bright and rich, but lean and dry with minerality and a nice acidic streak for balance.

    Aug 06, 2014 at 6:03 PM

  • Snooth User: teddz
    880703 39

    Williplant thanks for the tip on Leelanau pinot blanc. Have been through there just once, and didn't take much time to explore wineries, but sounds like Chateau Chantal is one to seek out.

    Aug 07, 2014 at 8:28 AM

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