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 ABC Wine  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Wine Producers 
  Wine Tasting Issue 45, October 2006   
Comparing Pinot BlancComparing Pinot Blanc Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 44, September 2006 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 46, November 2006

Comparing Pinot Blanc

Coming from Bourgogne and sometimes confused with Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc is a grape now common all over Europe with which are being produced classic method sparkling wines as well

 Pinot Blanc is one of the many grapes belonging to the rich family of Pinots. Coming from Bourgogne - just like the other members of this family - Pinot Blanc is considered a mutation of Pinot Gris, which is in turn considered a mutation of Pinot Noir. The fate of Chardonnay - another grape coming from Bourgogne - has a connection with Pinot Blanc. Chardonnay is in fact sometimes called - erroneously, of course - Pinot Chardonnay, even worse, it is sometimes completely confused with Pinot Blanc because of their similarities. In fact, for years Chardonnay has been confused with Pinot Blanc, an ambiguity that today, luckily, seems to be clear everywhere in the world. Also the use of Pinot Blanc in the production of wine is pretty similar to Chardonnay. Thanks to its high acidity it is in fact used for the production of classic method sparkling wines - such as Franciacorta, for example - and in past times it was used in the production of Champagne, a custom which is today used by few producers.

 Despite the origin of Pinot Blanc is from Bourgogne, today this grape is mainly cultivated in central Europe and Austria, where it is commonly known as Weissburgunder and from which are obtained good wines. In France, Pinot Blanc is currently represented by Alsace, where it is cultivated a particular clone - called Gros Pinot Blanc - capable of a higher productivity and vigor. Pinot Blanc is common in Eastern Europe and in California. In Italy, Pinot Blanc is pretty common, in particular in the regions with a cool climate, such as Alto Adige, Veneto, Trentino, Lombardy and Friuli Venezia Giulia. In these regions Pinot Blanc is also used for the production of classic method sparkling wines, such as Franciacorta, Talento and Trento Spumante. In the production of dry wines, Pinot Blanc is generally fermented and aged in steel tanks, however there are many cases in which it is preferred the aging in cask, in particular the barrique. The passage in wood, of course, gives Pinot Blanc a fuller body and longevity, while losing part of its aromatic characteristic.

 

The Wines of the Tasting

 Because of its relatively weak aromatic characteristics, quality wines produced with Pinot Blanc requires strict cultural practices. The low aromaticity of ordinary and average quality Pinot Blanc, made connoisseurs believe the wines produced with this grape were not interesting, a reason which probably led to the use of cask by many producers. Pinot Blanc has however other qualities which make it interesting for the production of wines, in particular in case it is blended with other grapes: good acidity and good body. Its good structure has also contributed, among the other things, to confuse Pinot Blanc with Chardonnay, two grapes having nothing in common. The relatively low aromaticity and its high acidity, make in fact Pinot Blanc interesting for the production of classic method sparkling wines, more frequently, for the production of Charmat method sparkling wines.


The three Pinot Blanc of our
comparative tasting
The three Pinot Blanc of our comparative tasting

 Our comparative tasting about Pinot Blanc will use three Italian wines, coming from two regions which are considered among the most representatives in Italy for the production of wines made with this grape: Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia. The wines have also been chosen according to the vinification technique, in order to understand the role of the cask in Pinot Blanc. The first wine selected for our comparative tasting is Scubla's Colli Orientali del Friuli Pinot Bianco di Scubla, aged for 8 months in steel tanks. The second wine, fermented and aged in steel tanks as well, is Franz Haas's Alto Adige Pinot Bianco. The last wine is the only Pinot Blanc of the three to be aged in barrique, where it remains for a period of 12 months: Castello di Spessa's Collio Pinot Bianco di Santarosa. The first two wines will be tasted at a temperature of 10° C (50° F), whereas for the third one we will be chosen a temperature of 12° C (54° F). The comparative tasting will be made, as usual, by using three ISO tasting glasses.

 

Appearance Analysis

 The color which can be observed in wines produced with Pinot Blanc is, as usual, a factor also depending on wine making technique, in particular on the types on containers used for fermentation and aging. In case vinification was completely made in inert containers - steel or cement tanks - Pinot Blanc does not show hues of intense color, generally ranging from a more or less intense greenish yellow color to pale straw yellow, with greenish yellow nuances. In case fermentation or aging was made in wood casks, the color gets deeper intensities, from intense straw yellow to golden yellow, and also nuances get a straw yellow color. When vinified with quality criteria, Pinot Blanc - thanks to its good acidity and body - can stand to some years of aging in bottle, period in which its color will get a deeper intensity which can also be of deep golden yellow.

 The first wine of which we will evaluate appearance is Franz Haas's Alto Adige Pinot Bianco. By holding the glass titled on a white surface, it will be observed the wine at the base of the liquid mass, where it will be possible to see an intense greenish yellow color, almost brilliant. By observing the wine towards the opening of the glass, it will be seen a nuance of the same color. Let's now examine Scubla's Colli Orientali del Friuli Pinot Bianco: also in this case the color, observed at the base of the glass, will show a brilliant greenish yellow hue and nuances of the same color. Let's now observe the appearance of the third wine, Castello di Spessa's Collio Pinot Bianco di Santarosa. At the base of the glass, tilted on a white surface, it will be observed a pale golden yellow color, an evident sign of the passage in barrique for this wine, a factor which is also seen in its straw yellow nuance.

 

Olfactory Analysis

 Pinot Blanc is frequently considered a grape from which are produced not very aromatic wines, or however not very rich in aroma varieties. Indeed, when quality production criteria are being adopted - something which is of course true for every grape, every wine and every area - wines produced with Pinot Blanc give interesting surprises also in aromas. The world of Pinot Blancs is mainly made by aromas belonging to the family of fruits, including tropical fruits, as well as the ones belonging to the world of flowers. Among the fruit aromas which can be perceived in Pinot Blanc wines, the most frequent ones are apple, peach, pear, plum and lemon, whereas as for tropical fruit aromas, the most common ones are banana, grapefruit and litchi. Also aromas of dried fruits can be sometimes found in Pinot Blanc, in particular almond and hazelnut. The most common flower aromas are the ones of broom, hawthorn, acacia and, sometimes, jasmine.


 

 The first wine of which we will evaluate aromas is Scubla's Colli Orientali del Friuli Pinot Bianco. By holding the glass in vertical position, and without swirling, we will proceed with the evaluation of opening aromas. After the first smell, it will be possible to perceive from the glass aromas of pear and lemon, two typical aromas distinguishing Pinot Blanc. After having swirled the glass, in order to favor a proper oxygenation of aromas, we will proceed with the second smell. It will be perceived aromas of hawthorn, pineapple, chamomile, apple, peach and broom, also in this case, pretty typical aromas in Pinot Blanc, including the most typical aroma of tropical fruit in this grape: pineapple. It should be noticed how the aromatic balance in this wine is very good: the perception of aromas is very clean. Let's now examine the aromas of the second wine Franz Haas's Alto Adige Pinot Bianco.

 We will proceed with the evaluation of opening aromas, an operation that will be done, as usual, by holding the glass still and in vertical position. After the first smell it will be perceived aromas of pear, almond and plum. Besides pear, that in Pinot Blanc is very frequent, in this wine we will find the most typical aroma of dried fruit: almond. After having swirled the glass, we will proceed now with the second smell from which will be perceived aromas of hawthorn, pineapple, broom, lemon and peach. Let's now examine the last wine, Castello di Spessa's Collio Pinot Bianco di Santarosa, the only wine of the three aged in barrique. Opening aromas will be characterized by banana, plum and toasted wood, whereas the second smell, after having swirled the glass, will develop aromas of pineapple, apple, hazelnut, pear, grapefruit, hawthorn and, pleasingly perceptible, hints of lavender. It should be noticed how in this last wine, despite the passage in wood is evident, this does not excessively disturb the perception of other aromas.

 

Gustatory Analysis

 Among the main characteristics which can be found during the gustatory evaluation of wines produced with Pinot Blanc, the most evident ones are represented by the high dry taste, good acidity and body. The latter two qualities make Pinot Blanc particularly appreciated in the production of classic method sparkling wines, such as Franciacorta and Talento. Pinot Blanc does not attract classic method sparkling wine producers only. Thanks to its acidity and its appreciable body, it is also used blended with other grapes having a lower structure, such as Sauvignon Blanc, or with not very high acidity, as in case of Chardonnay. Because of these two primary organoleptic characteristics, in particular when it is vinified without making use of specific qualitative criteria, wines produced with Pinot Blanc, during the gustatory analysis, can be pretty harsh, dry, with high acidity and body. For this reason, some producers prefer to vinify Pinot Blanc by using the barrique, in order to make it smoother therefore limiting the aggressivity of acids.

 The first wine we will evaluate is Scubla's Colli Orientali del Friuli Pinot Bianco. The attack, evaluated at the first sip, will be characterized by the evident and pleasing crispness, and it should also be noticed, moreover, the good structure and the correspondence to the nose of pear flavor. Let's now evaluate the second wine, Franz Haas's Alto Adige Pinot Bianco. Just like the previous wine, the attack of Franz Haas's Pinot Blanc will be characterized by an evident crispness given by acidity, higher than the previous wine. It should also be noticed the good structure of the wine and the correspondence to the nose of the opening aromas. Let's now pass to the gustatory evaluation of the last wine, Castello di Spessa's Collio Pinot Bianco di Santarosa. The attack, despite acidity is still well appreciable, it will be lower but however well balanced by the higher smoothness and structure - sign of the passage in barrique - which together with alcohol, make the wine very harmonic. Just like in the previous cases, it should be noticed the good correspondence to the nose with the opening aromas.

 

Final Considerations

 The three Pinot Blancs of our comparative tasting allowed us to appreciate the main organoleptic qualities of this grape. Three wines produced in different areas and in different ways, however all being good expressions of Pinot Blanc. The finish in Scubla's Colli Orientali del Friuli Pinot Bianco is characterized by flavors of pear, peach and apple, qualities which distinguish Pinot Blanc, in particular pear and apple. The finish of Franz Haas's Alto Adige Pinot Bianco is also persistent with evident flavors of pear and apple as well as plum. The finish of the third wine, Castello di Spessa's Collio Pinot Bianco di Santarosa is characterized, as opposed to the previous wines, by a higher complexity and structure, thanks to the aging in barrique. The finish of this wine is persistent and leave in the mouth flavors of plum, pear, banana and hazelnut, very intense and elegant. Because of its organoleptic qualities, Pinot Blanc is mainly blended with other grapes, however the wines of our comparative tasting prove that, when vinified with quality criteria, it can give very good results also on its own.

 






 ABC Wine  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Wine Producers 
  Wine Tasting Issue 45, October 2006   
Comparing Pinot BlancComparing Pinot Blanc Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 44, September 2006 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 46, November 2006

Wines of the Month


 

Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Good value wine Good value wine
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




Collio Chardonnay Archetipi 2001, Giovanni Puiatti (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Collio Chardonnay Archetipi 2001
Giovanni Puiatti (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Grapes: Chardonnay
Price: € 19.00 Score:
Chardonnay Archetipi shows a brilliant straw yellow color and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of banana and apple followed by aromas of acacia, pineapple, plum, bread crust, hawthorn, litchi, hazelnut, grapefruit and pear. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable smoothness. The finish is persistent with flavors of banana, plum and apple. Chardonnay Archetipi ages in steel tanks.
Food Match: Roasted fish, Broiled fish, Roasted white meat, Stuffed pasta



Oltre Pinot Nero a Vittorio Puiatti 2003, Giovanni Puiatti (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Oltre Pinot Nero a Vittorio Puiatti 2003
Giovanni Puiatti (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Price: € 21.00 Score:
The wine shows a brilliant ruby red color and nuances of brick red, moderate transparency. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of cherry, raspberry and plum followed by aromas of strawberry, cyclamen, blueberry, rose, cinnamon, pink pepper and menthol. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a slightly tannic attack and pleasing crispness, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of cherry, plum and raspberry. This Pinot Noir ages in steel tanks.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat with mushrooms



Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore San Michele 2004, Bonci (Marches, Italy)
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore San Michele 2004
Bonci (Marches, Italy)
Grapes: Verdicchio
Price: € 12.00 Score:
The wine shows a brilliant golden yellow color and nuances of golden yellow, very transparent. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of apple, plum and almond followed by aromas of hawthorn, pear, citrus fruits, pineapple, honey and grapefruit. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a crisp attack and pleasing roundness, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of apple, plum and almond. Verdicchio San Michele ages in steel tanks.
Food Match: Roasted fish, Stewed fish with mushrooms, Roasted white meat



Casanostra 2002, Bonci (Marches, Italy)
Casanostra 2002
Bonci (Marches, Italy)
Grapes: Montepulciano
Price: € 14.00 Score:
Casanostra shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, little transparency. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of plum jam and black cherry jam followed by aromas of blueberry jam, vanilla, violet, tobacco, licorice, carob, mace and menthol. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum jam and black cherry jam. Casanostra ages for 1 year in barrique followed by at least 6 months of aging in bottle.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Broiled meat, Braised and stewed meat



Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripassą 2003, Accordini Igino (Veneto, Italy)
Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripassà 2003
Accordini Igino (Veneto, Italy)
Grapes: Corvina (55%), Corvinone (20%), Rondinella (15%), Rossignola (10%)
Price: € 12.00 Score:
This wine shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas that start with hints of blackberry, black cherry and plum followed by aromas of blueberry, violet, vanilla, tobacco, carob and cinnamon. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, good roundness. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum, black cherry and blackberry. This wine referments in Amarone's pomace according to the “ripasso” method, ages for 12 months in barrique and 6 months in cask.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Braised and stewed meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese



Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Le Bessole 2001, Accordini Igino (Veneto, Italy)
Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Le Bessole 2001
Accordini Igino (Veneto, Italy)
Grapes: Corvina (55%), Corvinone (15%), Rondinella (20%), Rossignola (10%)
Price: € 25.00 Score:
This Amarone shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of blackberry, black cherry and plum followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, chocolate, licorice, tobacco, vanilla and mace. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and pleasing roundness, however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of blackberry, black cherry and plum. This Amarone ages for 12 months in barrique, 18 months in steel tanks and 6 months in cask.
Food Match: Game, Roasted meat, Braised and stewed meat, Hard cheese



Manzoni Bianco 2005, Paladin (Veneto, Italy)
Manzoni Bianco 2005
Paladin (Veneto, Italy)
Grapes: Manzoni Bianco
Price: € 7.50 Score:   Good value wine
This wine shows a pale straw yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas that start with hints of apple and apricot followed by aromas of banana, litchi, pear, peach, melon, grape, white rose and broom. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a crisp attack and pleasing roundness, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of peach, apricot and litchi. Manzoni Bianco ages in steel tanks.
Food Match: Pasta and risotto with fish and vegetables, Sauteed fish, Sauteed white meat



Malbech Gli Aceri 2001, Paladin (Veneto, Italy)
Malbech Gli Aceri 2001
Paladin (Veneto, Italy)
Grapes: Malbec
Price: € 14.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category
Malbech Gli Aceri shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant aromas which start with hints of black cherry, black currant and plum followed by aromas of blueberry, vanilla, tobacco, licorice, chocolate, mace and eucalyptus. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of black cherry, plum and black currant. A well made wine. This Malbech ages for 12 months in barrique, 6 months in cask and at least 6 months in bottle.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Braised and stewed meat, Game



Lison Pramaggione Sauvignon Turranio 2005, Bosco del Merlo (Veneto, Italy)
Lison Pramaggione Sauvignon Turranio 2005
Bosco del Merlo (Veneto, Italy)
Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc
Price: € 11.00 Score:
This wine shows a brilliant greenish yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of peach, elder and pineapple followed by aromas of banana, litchi, apple, pear, bell pepper and tomato leaf. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of peach, pineapple and litchi. Sauvignon Blanc Turranio ages for 5 months in steel tanks.
Food Match: Pasta and risotto with fish and crustaceans, Broiled crustaceans



Lison Pramaggiore Refosco Roggio dei Roveri 2002, Bosco del Merlo (Veneto, Italy)
Lison Pramaggiore Refosco Roggio dei Roveri 2002
Bosco del Merlo (Veneto, Italy)
Grapes: Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso
Price: € 18.00 Score:
This wine shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of black currant, black cherry and plum followed by aromas of blueberry, vanilla, tobacco, violet, pink pepper, menthol and cyclamen. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and pleasing roundness, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of black currant, black cherry and plum. A well made wine. Roggio dei Roveri ages for 18 months in cask followed by 6 months of aging in bottle.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat



Il Moro 2004, Valle dell'Acate (Sicily, Italy)
Il Moro 2004
Valle dell'Acate (Sicily, Italy)
Grapes: Nero d'Avola
Price: € 10.50 Score: Wine that excels in its category
Il Moro shows a brilliant ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of black cherry, blackberry and plum followed by aromas of violet, tobacco, carob and menthol. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum, blackberry and black cherry. Il Moro ages in steel tanks and in bottle for at least 9-12 months.
Food Match: Broiled meat and barbecue, Sauteed meat with mushrooms, Stuffed pasta, Hard cheese



Bidis 2004, Valle dell'Acate (Sicily, Italy)
Bidis 2004
Valle dell'Acate (Sicily, Italy)
Grapes: Chardonnay, Inzolia
Price: € 13.50 Score:
Bidis shows a brilliant golden yellow color and nuances of golden yellow, very transparent. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of apple, orange and almond followed by aromas of toasted, vanilla, pineapple, peach, hawthorn, broom, plum and pear. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a crisp attack and pleasing roundness, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of apple, almond and orange. Bidis ages for 12 months in cask followed by 4-6 months of aging in bottle.
Food Match: Roasted fish, Stuffed pasta, Roasted white meat






 ABC Wine  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Wine Producers 
  Wine Tasting Issue 45, October 2006   
Comparing Pinot BlancComparing Pinot Blanc Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
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