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!
This smells terrific, it’s not very aromatic but then again Pinot Blanc isn’t an aromatic grape. what it does deliver is this subtle purity with hints of white fruit, white peach, crab apples, chalky soil notes and a fine base of sweet dried floral notes. Bright and focused in the mouth, this has a fine mineral base on the palate with lively acids helping to lend this energy in the mouth. It has a touch of roundness which it could stand to lose, but the flavors of lemon curd, lime zest, baked apple and herb seeds are pure and bright and drift on the long slightly dusty finish. Really a great showing. 92pts
Green fruit, fig and quince hit the nose along with beautiful floral and river stone accents with just a hint of beeswax and suggestions of smoke emerging with air. Big and fairly bold in the mouth, this delivers tons of rich fruit, showing a slightly sweet side to the fig, tart apple and Asian pear flavors. There’s great energy though, due to the high avids here, and suggestions of earthy minerality and dried fruit emerge on the backend, adding detail to the peach nectar tinged finish which is long and clear with refreshing zestiness and a hint of tannin on the finale. ba. This is in your face. Fruit bomby but not frooty! 91pts
Soil driven on the nose with a minty herbal edge to the unripe honeydew, fennel, and dried citrus peel aromas. tense and taut on entry with terrific acidity unfurling on the palate along with layered flavors of dusty earth, unripe pear and green apple flavors. This has a touch of tannin to it adding another layer of textural interest in the mouth. The texture of the wine is actually tissue fine and supported by the structure very nicely with bright citrus tinged flavors emerging on the backend and through the modest finish that ends with some sandy soil notes. Great clarity and vibrancy here with sneaky length to the fruit that turns a bit peach skin like. 91pts
Earthy and tight on the nose with hints of river stones, dried peach, dusty soil tones and a hint of linden flower. Elegantly knit together, this is seamless and light on the palate with finely nuanced river stone and old wood nites supporting hints of apricot and lime zest that frames the core of peachy orchard fruit. The finish shows focus and energy with a well integrated vein of red minerality knitting together the wine from midpalate through the end of the moderately long, salty in a mineral water kind of way finish. The finish shows a hint of tropical fruit, nondescript perhaps but with something that recalls both green and ripe papaya. A bit subtle but totally enjoyable. 89pts
Lightly aromatic with hints of apple cores and lime zest on the nose along with some note of talc. Light, elegant and fresh in the mouth. This is a rather delicate wine that glides across the palate with subtle melon, tangerine and almond flavors culminating in a big, bold finish that shows some heat along with intense peach and citrus flavors. A bit short and perhaps a touch simple this nonetheless is delightful to drink. 88pts
Slightly earthy and dusty on the nose with attractively nuanced heirloom apple and sweet apple pie aromas. This packs in a lot of power and great intensity on the palate with bright and vivid green apple and spiced fruit flavors that benefit from the slight edge of RS here. All apple skins and faint green herbs akin to spearmint on the backend, this finishes on the short side but cleanly and with a refreshing hint of minerality. 87pts
Earthy and floral with hints of heather and old wood on the nose along with a bit of quince jelly and some melony top notes. A little trapped CO2 lends this a bit of a prickle on the tongue. It’s a round wine, though one that maintains good focus with mineral flecked and earthy orchard fruit flavors on the bright palate. A bit short on the finish, this remains easy going and with hints of green apple and almost cucumber skin on the palate and growing minerality on the grapefruit pith laced finish. 87pts
Via: Snooth – Articles