The pinot blanc is a white grape variety famous for its wines that can age for a long time in the bottle in the most suitable territories. The pinot blanc grape variety originates from the Burgundyin France, where he was born from a mutation of pinot noir, one of the oldest grape varieties, which dates back to Roman times. The discovery of pinot blanc as a variety in its own right probably occurred in the Middle Ages, when winegrowers noticed that some pinot noir vines were producing clusters of white grapes. From 1700 onwards, ghanks to its adaptability, it began to spread rapidly and has become an international grape variety cultivated all over the world.

Pinot blanc: characteristics

... of the plant

  • Appearance: leaf medium, pentagonal, rounded and practically entire, open U-shaped petiolar sinus. The upper page is glabrous, bullous and glossy dark green. The underside is arachnoid and dull green. Petiole short, medium, glabrous and green in colour with dark red streaks.
  • Maturation: mid-September. Bunch small (approx. 12 cm long), cylindrical, often winged and compact. Grape small, spheroid, not too regular in shape. Peel thin and tender, not very pruinose, speckled and golden yellow. Pulp juicy and with a simple flavour, very sweet and not very acidic.
  • Productivity: discrete and regular.
  • Vigour: good.
  • Resistance to adversity: normal to powdery mildew and downy mildew, but is susceptible to rot attacks.
Grapevine pinot blanc leaf

... of wine produced

In Austria at Burgenland, Germany - in Baden, Pfalz and Rheinhessen - and in Northern Italy - particularly in Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia - pinot bianco is commonly used on its own to make white wines that are also suitable for long bottle ageing. Pinot blanc is also used for classic method sparkling wine bases, but it is rarely vinified in purity and is more frequently blended with chardonnay and pinot noir.

  • Visual examination: more or less intense straw yellow colour.
  • Olfactory examination: quite intense and fruity. Recognition of almond, wet stone, pear, white peach and lemon peel.
  • Taste-olfactory examination: fresh, soft, alcoholic, structured and balanced.

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Pinot blanc: growing areas

  • Italy: (suitable and recommended areas) Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Piedmont, Apulia, Valle d'Aosta, and the provinces of Belluno, Padua, Trento, Treviso, Venice, Verona, Vicenza; (suitable areas) Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Lombardy, Marche, Molise, Sardinia, Sicily, Tuscany, Umbria and the provinces of Bolzano, Caserta and Rovigo.
  • World (in order of quantity): Germany (Baden, Pfalz); Italy; Austria (Lower Austria: Niederösterreich; Styria: Steiremark); France (Alsace); Russia (Don Valley); Slovenia (Posavje).

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Sommelier: the illustrated manual

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Pinot Bianco: Italian DOCG and DOC wines where it is allowed

  • DOCG: Colli di Conegliano, Franciacorta, Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico, Rosazzo.
  • DOC: Alto Adige or dell'Alto Adige (in German Südtirol or Südtiroler), Arcole, Bianco di Custoza or Custoza, Bianco di Pitigliano, Breganze, Colli Altotiberini, Colli Berici, Colli Bolognesi, Colli del Trasimeno or Trasimeno, Colli di Faenza, Colli di Parma, Colli di Scandiano and di Canossa, Colli Euganei, Colli Perugini, Colli Pesaresi, Colli Romagna Centrale, Colli Tortonesi, Collio Goriziano or Collio, Corti Benedettine del Padovano, Curtefranca, Friuli Aquileia, Friuli Annia, Friuli Colli Orientali, Friuli Isonzo or Isonzo del Friuli, Friuli Latisana, Gambellara, Garda, Garda Colli Mantovani, Lison Pramaggiore, Lizzano, Merlara, Molise or del Molise, Monreale, Montecarlo, Montello - Colli Asolani, Monti Lessini, Oltrepò Pavese, Piemonte, Pomino, Riviera del Brenta, Salice Salentino, Scavigna, Terre del Colleoni or Colleoni, Trentino, Trento, Val d'Arbia, Valcalepio, Valdadige, Valdichiana Toscana, Valle d'Aosta or Vallée d'Aoste, Vicenza, Vigneti della Serenissima or Serenissima, Friuli or Friuli Venezia Giulia (in Slovenian language Slovena Furlanjia or Furlanjia Juliska Krajna).
Grape variety pinot bianco bunch

Conclusion

Although it is more common to drink Pinot Blanc wines of European origin, During the 20th century, this grape variety crossed the ocean and also took root in the United States and Canada. In California, Pinot Blanc found a warm and sunny climate that allowed it to produce wines with greater structure and complexity than European versions. In Oregon and Washington State, it has shown that it can express unique characteristics due to climatic conditions similar to those in its regions of origin. In Canada, however, pinot blanc is mainly cultivated in British Columbia and Ontario. In these regions, producers have experimented with different winemaking techniques to bring out the particularities of the grape variety, resulting in fresh and aromatic wines suitable for both young consumption and ageing. A sommelier should aim to taste wines made from pinot blanc grapes from all over the world to get as accurate an overview as possible of its full potential.

Sources:

© Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies, National Catalogue of Vine Varieties.

© Bassi C., Sommelier: the illustrated manual, Cammeo DiVino, Reggio Emilia, 2022, pp. 172-173

© Weinstrasse (cover photo)

Other white grape varieties to be studied:

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