9 Best Pinot Blancs Chardonnay Lovers Should Drink This Summer – Robb Report
Judging by the numbers, white wine enthusiasts in the United States are loath to give up their glass of Chardonnay. Last year, according to Dr. Liz Thach, MW (using Nielsen scan data), consumers picked up 32,038,000 cases of the most popular white. But judging from my recent white wine tasting, it’s only because no one has put a glass of pinot blanc in front of them yet. Approaching the characteristic full-bodied body of Chardonnay and often sharing part of its flavor profile – apple, pear, citrus, stone fruit – Pinot Blanc generally adds notes of almonds which give it a flavorful touch. And the best are vibrant, shimmering with minerality.
Known mainly in the French region of Alsace, Pinot Blanc is a mutation of the Pinot Noir grape (just like Pinot Gris, which did not become quite white). And in the cool regions of the West Coast, from Santa Barbara County to northern California (Sonoma, Anderson Valley) to Oregon’s Willamette Valley, winemakers are turning the strain into ever-increasing iterations. beautiful. (They just have a lot less raw material to work with compared to their chardonnay projects: In 2018, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Golden State was home to just 280 acres of Pinot Blanc, but over 93,000 acres of Chardonnay.)
Ryan Prichard, winemaker at Three Sticks Wines, whose 2019 Pinot Blanc from Durell Vineyard in West Sonoma is a dazzling, describes the wine’s appeal and its potential source of confusion: âPinot Blanc is a wonderful balance between inherent richness of Chardonnay and some of the more piercing and aromatic grape varieties like Sauvignon Blanc. Much like Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc has the ability to adapt to the expression of the fruit by the winemaker, which is one of the reasons it takes so many forms across the world. Some winegrowers highlight the exuberant aromas of the wine with stainless steel fermentation; others enhance texture and mouth feel with an oak treatment. Prichard is hedging his bets. âI ferment Pinot Blanc in barrels, but I mainly use French oak barrels used for a soft impact,â he says. âBut I also like to mix a few stainless steel barrels to accentuate the fresh and tangy notes, and acacia barrels to highlight the floral aspects of the grape variety. The goal is to merge this into a wine that has enough weight and structure to be serious, but also has verve and flowery aromas.
This is a wine that would make a great summer adventure for all those whose point of reference is Chardonnay.
Alma Rosa 2019 La Encantada Pinot Blanc Sta. Rita hills
Beautiful textures play on the palate of this white from Santa Barbara County pioneer Alma Rosa. Notes of orange blossom and jasmine open, joined by juicy apple, Meyer lemon, a touch of guava and savory herbal notes. Generous fruit flavors follow, with notes of clementine, peach and green apple, enhanced by notes of almonds and minerals.
Buy Now: $ 35
Bouchaine 2018 Las Brisas Vineyard Pinot Blanc Sonoma, Carneros
Earth and fruit blend wonderfully in this mouth-filling Bouchaine Pinot Blanc, sourced from a one-acre block of fan-favorite Las Brisas Vineyard, which, like the vineyards at Domaine de Bouchaine, benefits from the cool breeze of Carneros off the bay of San Pablo. The aromas of tropical flowers drift on apple, pear, stone fruits, Meyer lemon and crushed oyster shells on the nose, while the palate continues with notes of tropical fruits under the melon and white peach. , lingering to a long, textured finish.
Buy Now: $ 38
David Paige Wines 2020 RPG Vineyard Pinot Blanc Eola â Amity Hills
This vibrant Pinot Blanc from Dave Paige comes with a fascinating origin story, âcame in my coat liningâ on the unusual clone he has in his vineyard. Resulting from a mutation in the 1930s at Domaine Henri Gouges in Burgundy, this so-called Pinot Gouges clone has made its way to the Willamette Valley, and has since been tasted, recognized and confirmed by a current member of the Gouges family. . The aromas of white flowers are carried by notes of ocean breeze, with fruit of the tree, pretty citrus, white peach and river stones. The palate is full of tension and verve, intensely scented with citrus and stone fruit that evolve towards tropical notes and exotic minerality on the finish.
Buy Now: $ 28
Wines Deovlet 2019 La Encantada Vineyard Pinot Blanc Sta. Rita hills
This delicate yet intensely vibrant white from Deovlet offers a different (and exciting) take on the La Encantada vineyard featured in the Alma Rosa above. Lovely aromas of apple peel, lime and almond are enveloped in orchard blossoms and a hint of salinity. On the palate dry and racy, taut in the best possible way, citrus leads to white peach, pear, crushed herbs for a flavorful touch and lime zest on a long, textured finish.
Buy Now: $ 35
Dutton-Goldfield 2020 Dutton Ranch Shop Block Pinot Blanc Green Valley of Russian River Valley
From Dutton Ranch, the Dutton-Goldfield team pulled off another magnificent white rivaling Chardonnay by a few ranks. Incredibly sharp aromas evoking tropical flowers and an apple orchard just after the first rain merge with white nectarine and pink grapefruit on the nose. The apple theme reappears in flavor form, only there you can imagine the red fruit with the skin on – a hint of savory herbs adding interest. Lovely citrus leans a bit on the exotic, with a crumpled lemon zest balancing out a creamy finish.
Buy Now: $ 30
Handley Cellars 2018 Pinot Blanc Mendocino County
Here’s a creamy, round Pinot Blanc from Handley, a longtime Anderson Valley favorite. Crunchy apple aromas are prominent, enhanced by hints of guava and hints of almonds characteristic of PB. The pretty palate offers stone fruit in the form of apricot, a touch of grapefruit, melon and lime zest evolving towards a slightly tropical and mineral finish.
Buy Now: $ 24
Ram’s Gate 2020 Estate Vineyard Pinot Blanc Carneros
The intensity and weight on the palate of Pinot Blanc characterize this beautiful white from Ram’s Gate, but it remains concentrated and refreshing at the same time. Apple blossom aromas open, with some earthy tropical notes and Bosc pear. A dry and vibrant palate is fleshed out with more apple and pear with stone fruit, a hint of nuts and wet stones.
Buy Now: $ 38
Three Sticks 2019 Durell Vineyard Pinot Blanc CÃ´te de Sonoma
This brilliant and vibrant white from Three Sticks has been aged partly in stainless steel, partly in neutral French oak and in a single acacia barrel. Notes of jasmine float over notes of apple, melon and lime, with a nice wet stone quality underneath. Refreshing and dry but generous at the same time, the palate bursts with pear, stone fruit and grapefruit, with a hint of almond. This one makes it impossible not to come back for one more sip.
Buy Now: $ 50
Willamette Valley Vineyards 2019 Pinot Blanc Willamette Valley, Oregon
This energetic and aromatic Pinot Blanc from Willamette Valley Vineyards is a steal. Fragrant blossoms – like spicy honeysuckle – come out of the glass, and after the blossoms come aromas of bruised apple (that’s a good thing), Asian pear and fuzzy peach with lemon-lime. The classic almond-apple character of Pinot Blanc leads on the palate, joined by red pear and citrus fruits with texture and zest that fill the mouth. There’s a lot of energy here, with a flavorful hint on the finish, balancing out the sweet fruit.
Buy Now: $ 25