Classic aromas of Pinot Blanc are: Red Apple, Pear, Yellow Nectarine, Lemon and Honeycomb
Pinot Blanc is a white grape variety that hails from France. Pinot Blanc is one of the few ‘Pinots’ that belong to the grape family of ‘Pinot’ – the oldest, and arguably the most important, grape family of them all. It is assumed to date back 2000 years ago. Over this time ‘Pinot’ has mutated and crossed with numerous grapes to create over 156 grapes that are all highly important in the European winemaking culture (and abroad) – extended further there are links to from the ‘Pinot’ family to Syrah and many of Italy’s native grapes.
Ever since the 19th century, and still till this day, Pinot Blanc is mistaken for Chardonnay – not just in the vineyard but also in the glass. It has similar attributes to Chardonnay like it’s propensity towards tropical flavours and medium-full bodied wines.
France is seen as it’s historical home and resides mostly in Alsace, here used as the base of the sparkling wines. France has a total of 1,292ha – ever on the decline due to the superiority and versatility of other grapes such as Pinot Gris and Chardonnay that replace it.
It possibly most important in Italy where it is one of the main grapes in Franciacorta – the sparkling wine of Lombardia, along with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Italy has a total of 5,126ha. Along with sparkling wine production it is used to make dry white wines that are floral and green apples.
In Germany, Pinot Blanc is known as Weissburgunder and is the fifth most important white grape with 3,731ha. Here it makes incredibly complex dry white wines. Over the border in Austria it is most commonly used in very sweet wines.
In California it is planted mainly in the Santa Barbara County region, and was historically used as a base for sparkling wines in the state. This has since changed and it is now used to make single varietal wines or blended in with other grapes such as Viognier to make aromatic whites.
Outside of the above countries there has been little interest in Pinot Blanc. There are a few producers of a single varietal, though not many, spread across Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
Pinot Blanc is capable of producing of wines that are medium bodied with moderate acidities. They can have a round and creamy texture – when careful winemaking has been implemented. It will have flavours of peach, pear, apple and lemon pith. With age it can develop into more spice, honey and floral flavours.