Over the next several weeks, we will introduce several different white varietals that don’t get much attention.  The first of these quick hit stories will be on Pinot Blanc.  What is Pinot Blanc?  It is a white wine grape that has its origins tied to Pinot Noir.  It is produced in several countries, but we see it mostly from Alsace, Germany, Italy, and the United States.  Most of the Pinot Blancs from the US come from Oregon and California.

In Alsace, it is made as a bone dry still wine.  It is also the most common varietal used for their sparkling wine called Crémant d’Alsace.  In Italy, the grape is known as Pinot Bianco. It is usually made as a neutral tasting, crisp, highly acid wine that is intended for early consumption.

In this report we will present to you four terrific US based Pinot Blanc wines that we think nicely represent this unique grape.

WillaKenzie-2009-Pinot-BlancOur first two Pinot Blancs both received scores of 91 points.  The 2009 WillaKenzie Estate “Estate Grown” Pinot Blanc from the Willamette Valley, Oregon is a heck of a wine for $21.  We recently presented this wine to a small group of tasters who found it to be quite enjoyable. It is medium-bodied, well balanced, and displays a slightly creamy mouthfeel.  Its flavor profile is a mineral infused citrus with a hint of honey.  The group found this wine to be dry and easy going which makes it very food-friendly and elegant.  We all thought it would be perfect with baked Dover sole.

Robert-Foley-2008-Pinot-BlancOur next Pinot Blanc comes from a California producer that is better known for his Merlot and Cabernet.  Robert Foley’s 2008 Pinot Blanc for $25 might surprise you.  We rewarded this wine with 91 points.  We certainly were quite enamored with it. It is medium-bodied, nicely balanced, and very smooth.  We really enjoyed its very tasty mild pear flavors with hints of vanilla and mineral.  We were very surprised to hear Bob say this wine had no malo and no oak treatment because it seemed like it would have both.  Our group all agreed that this wine would pair very well with seared scallops with a lemon butter drizzle.

Ponzi-2009-Pinot-BlancFor our final two Pinot Blancs we return to the state of Oregon.  The 2009 Ponzi Pinot Blanc for $15 might be one of the best deals that you find. It was one of my favorites this year as I rewarded it with 90 points.  On the palate, this offering is full-bodied, creamy, yet displays nicely integrated crisp acidity.  I was particularly fond of its complex flavor profile which was mainly a very tasty green apple with hints of cinnamon, white pepper, and Clementine.  Its finish is dry and rather refreshing.  It is quite food-friendly and would pair very well with a seafood casserole.

Amity-2008-Pinot-Blanc-BlogOur final Pinot Blanc comes from the Amity Vineyard.  Their 2008 Pinot Blanc for $15 opens with an attractive floral lilac-like bouquet with hints of pear and lime.  It is medium-bodied and shows some zippy acidity with mineral infused lime and golden delicious flavors.  I thought this wine was seafood-friendly and would go particularly well with shrimp scampi. 

My hope is that after you read this report that you will go out and try one of these particularly good Pinot Blancs.  When made well, this grape will deliver a wine that will impress you and present some very good quality for the money.  Enjoy the exploration of this very under rated grape.

Cheers – Ken

By Ken

Ken launched KensWineGuide.com in November 2006.