Want to know more about the Pinot Blanc grape and the wines it produces?
Pronounced “pee-no blonk,” Pinot Blanc is the white wine grape responsible for some of the most impressive sparkling, still, and sweet dessert wines. It is often overshadowed by other popular white wine varietals, including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
But what is the difference between Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay? How is it different compared to the rest of the Pinot family?
Which Pinot Blanc bottles should you buy in 2021?
Let’s walk through all you need to know about Pinot Blanc - where this grape originated from, how it is known worldwide, food pairings, and characteristics.
We even have a list of eight of the best Pinot Blancs you could try out for yourself!
In This Article, We Will Cover:
- A Quick Intro To Pinot Blanc
- The Pinot Family Explained
- Difference Between Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Gris
- Differences Between Pinot Blanc And Chardonnay
- How To Store and Serve Pinot Blanc
- The Perfect Food Pairings for Pinot Blanc
- 8 Captivating Pinot Blanc Wines You Can Buy In 2021
- 2014 Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne La Boloree Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France
- 2018 Philippe Pacalet Nuits-Saint-Georges Blanc, Cote de Nuits, France
- 2017 Domaine Henri Gouges La Perriere Blanc, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru, France
- 2014 Kellerei Kaltern 'Kunst.Stuck' Weissburgunder, Sudtirol, Italy
- 2015 Weingut Tement Zieregg Weissburgunder Grosse STK Lage, Sudsteiermark, Austria
- 2018 Marie-Therese Chappaz Grain Cinq, Fully, Switzerland
- 2017 Weingut Dreissigacker Bechtheimer Einzigacker Weissburgunder Trocken, Rheinhessen, Germany
- 2017 Robert Sinskey Vineyard Pinot Blanc, Carneros, USA
Grab a glass of your favorite wine, and let’s get started.
A Quick Intro To Pinot Blanc
Pinot Blanc is a genetic mutation of its more well-known counterparts - Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.
Pinot Blanc produces a medium-dry wine, and when blended with other grape varietals - it creates some fantastic still and sparkling wines.
The Pinot Blanc grape originated in Burgundy and is used in the Bourgogne Blanc blend. However, today it is mostly found in the Alsace region, where it’s called Klevner, and is often overshadowed by the more popular Riesling and Gewurztraminer.
Interestingly, in Alsace, the Pinot Blanc appellation or designation doesn't necessarily mean it is a 100% Pinot Blanc wine.
Instead, this appellation or designation denotes a white wine made from Pinot varieties like Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Auxerrois Blanc. (The Auxerrois grape is what gives Pinot Blanc wine a classic Alsatian flavor.)
You’ll also find Pinot Blanc vineyards in Germany, Croatia, Alto Adige, Friuli, Austria, California, and in the Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The Pinot Family Explained
Even though Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Grigio are just color mutations of Pinot Noir, they differ in taste, look, and winemaking styles.
Let’s take a quick look at these differences.
Difference Between Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris and Grigio are the same grape but grown in France and Italy, respectively.
Pinot Blanc is the cousin of these two grapes, and its mutation caused a loss in the pigment in the skin to give it a different color. Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio grapes have a grayish or purple hue, while Pinot Blanc has a grass-green color.
When comparing wines from the same grape family, it always comes down to taste, tannins, and acidity.
- Pinot Blanc: Either rich (when oaked) or lighter, sometimes with more fleshiness and lower acidity
- Pinot Grigio: Lighter and unoaked style typical in northern Italy, crisp with loads of acidity
- Pinot Gris: Often used in late harvest botrytis wines, has a sweet taste with a warm palate
Let’s take a trip around the world and see how Pinot Blanc is used in different regions.
Pinot Blanc Around The World
Pinot Blanc thrives in cooler temperatures in the growing seasons with minimal exposure to sunlight and wind. When it comes to soil, limestone and clay make the ideal composition for healthy vine growth.
The grape is known by different names in different parts of the world - Pinot Bianco, Weissburgunder, and so on. And, like most grape varieties the wine style and vinification methods differ depending on the region:
- Pinot Bianco: Grown and produced in Italy, has crisp and light characteristics and often produces a dry white wine. Pinot Bianco is also used to create spumante (sparkling wine.)
- Pinot Blanc: French winemakers use Pinot Blanc to make Cremant d’Alsace sparkling wine. Pinot Blanc that’s made in France is often oaked, and has a creamy texture and almond characteristics.
In Canada, winemakers use Pinot Blanc to make ice wine, while in California, it is a favorite choice for making sparkling wine.
- Weissburgunder or Weißer Burgunder: Grown in Germany and Austria. It has refreshing and light characteristics. Austrian winemakers use it to create Trockenbeerenausiese (a dessert wine.)
Read more: If you need something to satisfy your sweet tooth right away, choose from one of these incredibly delicious Moscato Wines!
There’s also a constant comparison between Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay wine. This mutation of Pinot Noir is also referred to as “Chardonnay’s understudy” in some wine circles.
But let’s see how these grape varieties differ from each other.
Differences Between Pinot Blanc And Chardonnay
In 1980 Pinot Blanc enjoyed the limelight in north-eastern Italy as it was often mistaken for the fashionable Chardonnay!
And it is understandable - they both have similar coloring and acidity, and both respond well to oak aging.
But these slight differences set them apart:
Nature of the grape
- Chardonnay is an early ripening grape and has a golden green color when fully matured.
- Pinot Blanc matures into a grass green color with good acidity.
Regions where they’re grown
- Chardonnay is grown worldwide due to its adaptability to terroir and flexible nature.
- Pinot Blanc is mostly grown in the northern hemisphere.
Oak influence and wine characteristics
- Chardonnay works as a blank canvas for winemakers, and is produced in a variety of styles.
Chardonnay white wine can be oaked or unoaked. American Chardonnay is usually oaked. This oak aging, along with the malolactic fermentation process, gives it a buttery creaminess. On the other hand, European Chardonnay is typically steel-aged and has bright flavors of tropical fruit, citrus, apples, and stone fruit.
- Pinot Blanc also allows the winemaker to play around with different styles.
Like other white wine varietals, Pinot Blanc is not generally aged in oak, but it can be. This white grape variety produces a medium-to-full-bodied wine with good acidity and almond and apple flavors.
When Pinot Blanc is oak-aged, it takes on a creamy mouthfeel and has notes of apple, citrus, pear with occasional mineral and smoke undertones.
Also read: Discover all the Health Benefits Of Red Wine and How Many Calories Are in it.
How To Store and Serve Pinot Blanc
Serve Pinot Blanc at 45-49°F (7-12°C) in the right wine glass to let the wine open up. Here are the best glasses for different styles of the wine:
- Unoaked Pinot Blanc: Serve in a white wine glass with a narrow aperture to accentuate the aromas.
- Oaked Pinot Blanc: Serve in a wine glass with a wide aperture to open the wine up.
- Sparkling Wine: Serve chilled in a flute, coup, or tulip redux.
Typically, Pinot Blancs are great to cellar for 1-3 years. (A few others last a bit longer - but we will get into the aging of this wine a bit later.)
Looking for the perfect food to pair with your favorite bottle of Pinot Blanc?
The Perfect Food Pairings for Pinot Blanc
Pinot Blancs pair perfectly with roast chicken, salad, and other light meats. Mild cheeses, seafood, pasta, and creamy or acidic sauces are also excellent choices.
Ready to get your hands on a bottle of this delicious white wine?
Must read: Building storage for your fine wine at home? Our article on How To Design The Perfect Wine Cellar will help you get started.
8 Captivating Pinot Blanc Wines You Can Buy In 2021
1. 2014 Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne La Boloree Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France
This delightful white wine from the Champagne region opens with a bouquet of apple, honeysuckle, lemon, spice, and floral characteristics. You will experience crisp acidity and notes of apricot, citrus, apple, and lemon on the palate.
Price of 2014 Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne La Boloree Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France: $258
2. 2018 Philippe Pacalet Nuits-Saint-Georges Blanc, Cote de Nuits, France
This fresh and smooth French wine is perfectly balanced in every way. On the nose, you enjoy all the notes of acacia honey, fresh wildflowers, spice, citrus fruits, and a headier minerality.
Price of 2018 Philippe Pacalet Nuits-Saint-Georges Blanc, Cote de Nuits, France: $132
3. 2017 Domaine Henri Gouges La Perriere Blanc, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru, France
This divine premier cru wine entices the senses with every drop. You’ll experience a bouquet of sweet herbs, dusty florals, white peach, hints of minerals, and moist earth on the nose.
Your palate will love the notes of white strawberry, zesty spice, and floral tones among the soft textures with every sip. It also offers a lingering finish of citrus-infused minerals.
Price of 2017 Domaine Henri Gouges La Perriere Blanc, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru, France: $123
4. 2014 Kellerei Kaltern 'Kunst.Stuck' Weissburgunder, Sudtirol, Italy
This bright yellow Italian white is characterized by its elegance, structure, and harmony.
It has well-integrated acidity, juicy fruit, and a variety of aromas. On the palate, its freshness, elegance, and minerality shine through the Mediterranean notes.
Price of 2014 Kellerei Kaltern 'Kunst.Stuck' Weissburgunder, Sudtirol, Italy: $63
5. 2015 Weingut Tement Zieregg Weissburgunder Grosse STK Lage, Sudsteiermark, Austria
This delicate white is from the best vineyard in southern Styria.
When it comes to aroma, It has incredible notes of grapefruit and quince. As for the taste, your palate will be spoiled for choice with notes of melon, pineapple, peach, white flowers, mango, and grapefruit.
Price of 2015 Weingut Tement Zieregg Weissburgunder Grosse STK Lage, Sudsteiermark, Austria: $60
6. 2018 Marie-Therese Chappaz Grain Cinq, Fully, Switzerland
This is a complex wine where the five grape varieties (Ermitage, Païen, Petite Arvine, Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner) blend perfectly. It has notes of apricots, lime, white flowers, frankincense, and citrus.
Price of 2018 Marie-Therese Chappaz Grain Cinq, Fully, Switzerland: $60
7. 2017 Weingut Dreissigacker Bechtheimer Einzigacker Weissburgunder Trocken, Rheinhessen, Germany
This white wine from Rheinhessen is genuinely one of a kind. It is full of character, playful, complex, and rich in extract. This wine opens up wonderfully with lovely aromas of honeysuckle, orange blossom, and ripe pear.
Price of 2017 Weingut Dreissigacker Bechtheimer Einzigacker Weissburgunder Trocken, Rheinhessen, Germany: $56
8. 2017 Robert Sinskey Vineyard Pinot Blanc, Carneros, USA
This varietal wine is bright and crisp with an amazingly zesty mid-palate that leads you into a lengthy finish.
This Pinot Blanc has aromas and fruit flavors of white peach, apricot, mandarin, lemon, green apple. You’ll love the juicy first flavor of fresh white pineapple!
Price of 2017 Robert Sinskey Vineyard Pinot Blanc, Carneros, USA: $49
Read more: Find out How Many Glasses Are In a Bottle Of Wine.
Does Pinot Blanc Age Well?
Pinot Blanc is meant to be drunk young. The aging varies from 1-5 years depending on which wine region it comes from.
A Pinot Blanc from France can age well for 4-5 years. Across the pond, in the USA, a Pinot Blanc has an aging potential of 1-3 years.
Now, if you want to go from a wine enthusiast to a wine investor, there are plenty of age-worthy wines from around the world you could add to your cellar.
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Time to Build an Enviable Wine Collection!
Pinot Blanc could be called the unsung hero of white wines. It is a great wine from the Pinot family that works perfectly well at a brunch or a lively gathering.
Pinot Blanc is meant to be enjoyed in its youth, which makes it the perfect wine to sip on while you build your wine investment portfolio!
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