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Wine of the Day

Pinot Blanc

A white wine grape with the potential for high acidity but a quiet nose, the fruit looks very much like Chardonnay but is actually a clone of Pinot Gris. Adding to it’s identity crisis, some wines labeled as Pinot Blanc in Australia are actually Chardonnay and some Pinot Blanc in California are actually Muscadet (aka Melon de Bourgogne). On its home turf in France, it is not only properly identified but widely grown in Alsace though it has been largely replaced in Burgundy by Chardonnay.

No matter what it’s called, the best California versions tend to be oak-aged, full-bodied and offer subtle aromas and flavors of apple, melon, spice and bread. Other tropical fruit, stone fruit and floral notes are not uncommon. The wines are usually best consumed young. Today, some Pinot Blanc is also being used in sparkling wine.

Among the NorCal wineries making Pinot Blanc are Saddleback Cellars and Robert Sinskey in Napa Valley, Castoro Cellars in Paso Robles, Chalone in Monterey County and Valley of the Moon in Sonoma Valley.