Episode 47: Pinot Blanc: A Potential Powerhouse

Episode 47: Pinot Blanc: A Potential Powerhouse

Pinot Blanc (or Bianco) is not to be confused with Pinot Gris (Grigio), it is all its own. It is a lovely bright white wine that is produced in many countries across the world.

Pop Some Bottles:

Elena Walch 2020 Pinot Bianco, Kristallberg, Alto Adige DOC

What is Pinot Blanc?

Pinot Blanc is a white grape variety. Much like its cousins in the Pinot Family, Pinot Blanc is the result of a natural genetic mutation that caused it to form its own unique characteristics. So while Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Blanc are all related, they are unique varieties unto themselves. 

The Pinot Blanc mutation has a wide range of style, it can have a crisp bright expression or slightly creamier more oak influences. Some styles are more fruit-forward while others are more restrained and mineral. It can be made still or sparkling, dry or sweet. And most of these stylistic differences depend on where this grape is grown. 

Where is Pinot Blanc Grown? 

There is some disagreement about what region is best known for Pinot Blanc. While the grape originated in Burgundy as a mutation of Pinot Noir it is best known from one of two places, Alsace in France and Alto Adige in Italy. 

In Alsace Pinot Blanc is one of their most prominent grapes, but it also easily gets overshadowed somewhat by the stars of that region, Riesling and Gewurztraminer. That said, the Pinot Blanc that does come out of Alsace is beautiful and rich with almond aromas and a hint of spice. The wines here typically see some time in oak barrels as well. 

Italian Pinot Bianco on the other hand is made in a lighter, crisper style that rarely sees any oak treatment. It can often be blended with other varietals here as well, but like I mentioned regions like Alto Adige are putting out some really great examples of single varietal bottlings of this wine. 

These are not the only two places you can find this grape however, we got over the other regions and names for this grape in this episode. Including some very delicious sparkling wines that are made using Pinot Blanc. 

Food Pairing with Pinot Blanc: 

Because Pinot Blanc can be made in so many different styles that makes it very versatile at the table. Plus one of the things all those different styles have going for them is the grapes' naturally high acidity which we know makes wine a better partner for food pairing. That bright acidity can be used to cut through a creamy or buttery sauce. Or you can play on the herbal sometimes spice notes in Pinot Blanc and match those to herbs and spice flavors that are prominent in your food. Classic pairing for Pinot Blanc are pasta dishes with a cream sauce or the classic lobster with lots of butter and sprinkled with fresh tarragon. 

For more information on the delicious example we're sipping on in this episode, this fun white grape variety and to hear the story of a unique Italian wine region grab a glass of your favorite and join us for this episode. 

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