Pinot Blanc: Let's forget this grape

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Postby Oliver McCrum » Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:48 pm

I disagree, I think there's only one way that a variety can be great: in great examples, even if there aren't all that many.

Some varieties do well in many places, some in just a few. For example, Chenin Blanc is a great, noble variety despite the fact that it only makes serious wine in one place.

I wouldn't put PB at the same level as Chenin, but until you've tried the best examples, you don't know what the grape is capable of.

Hell, I'd say Chardonnay only makes great wine in one place, but that's another topic...
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Postby Bob Henrick » Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:08 pm

[quote="Oliver McCrum"]I disagree, I think there's only one way that a variety can be great: in great examples, even if there aren't all that many.

For example, Chenin Blanc is a great, noble variety despite the fact that it only makes serious wine in one place.

IHi Oliver, I don't think I would agree with you that chenin only make great wine in one location. In addition to Vouvray, there is Savennières, and the Mont Louis region, then some darn nice chenin is made in South Africa,. But I agree that the best is made in one general area, beven if I can't say one place.
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Postby Peter May » Tue Apr 04, 2006 5:18 am

Oliver McCrum wrote: For example, Chenin Blanc is a great, noble variety despite the fact that it only makes serious wine in one place.


And that place is South Africa -- unless you meant makes serious wine in two places :wink:
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Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:41 am

Peter May wrote:
Oliver McCrum wrote: For example, Chenin Blanc is a great, noble variety despite the fact that it only makes serious wine in one place.


And that place is South Africa -- unless you meant makes serious wine in two places :wink:


I can't recall a single S. African Chenin I have liked. Got any good recommendations?
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Postby Peter Ruhrberg » Tue Apr 04, 2006 9:47 am

Weissburgunder is taken quite seriously in Germany, and at least in the Pfalz is recognized as a 1 Gewächs grape. I'm not sure anyone imports them to the US, but look for Bergdoldt or Wehrheim for example, or Schneider from Baden. Their best Weissbuigunders are more serious than anything I've seen from Alsace.

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Re: Pinot Blanc: Let's forget this grape

Postby OW Holmes » Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:55 am

Jenise wrote: It's the most useless, boring, white wine grape I know.


For me, that pretty much descrives chardonnay, at least as done (oaked) by most Cal wineries.
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Postby Jenise » Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:27 pm

Peter Ruhrberg wrote:Weissburgunder is taken quite seriously in Germany, and at least in the Pfalz is recognized as a 1 Gewächs grape. I'm not sure anyone imports them to the US, but look for Bergdoldt or Wehrheim for example, or Schneider from Baden. Their best Weissbuigunders are more serious than anything I've seen from Alsace.

Peter


Peter, thanks for the names. David says weissburgunder isn't imported, and he would know better than anyone, but odd things do occasionally turn up at auctions. I've found more than one will-never-find-it-here wine that way, so I keep a list of things to look for. I'll put Bergdolt, Wehrheim and Schneider on that list.

But I'm curious about your statement that the best Weissburgunders are more serious than anything from Alsace. Can you elaborate on what makes the German versions more 'serious'?
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Re: Pinot Blanc: Let's forget this grape

Postby Jenise » Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:29 pm

OW Holmes wrote:
Jenise wrote: It's the most useless, boring, white wine grape I know.


For me, that pretty much describes chardonnay, at least as done (oaked) by most Cal wineries.


Oliver, I can understand why you'd say that, but I'd still postulate that the worst California chardonnay I've had is still better than the best California pinot blanc I've had.
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Postby Peter Ruhrberg » Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:39 pm

Jenise wrote:But I'm curious about your statement that the best Weissburgunders are more serious than anything from Alsace. Can you elaborate on what makes the German versions more 'serious'?


I'm not claiming in depth knowledge of PB from Alsace. My impression was that noone makes very ambitious wines from PB in Alsace. It is not a grand cru grape, hence not planted in the best sites. There seems to be no market for expensive PB from Alsace. I may be wrong, but I haven't come across any.
PB in Germany has been a grape which allowed wine makers to make international /burgundian - style wines, i.e. dry wines from very ripe grapes and lower yields, perhaps with new oak. Pealpe started to experiment and there was a competition in the field of such wines, which do not fit the traditional picture of off-dry German wine. PB was a good grape to try making your name with, because we did not have much Chardonnay planted. So, the conditions are in place for more serious PB compared to Alsace.

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Postby Peter May » Tue Apr 04, 2006 1:44 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:
I can't recall a single S. African Chenin I have liked. Got any good recommendations?


David

Try some of the following

    Raats Chenin Blanc 2005
    Fleur du Cap Chenin Blanc 2005
    Spier Private Collection 2004
    Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc 2005
    Bellingham The Maverick Chenin Blanc 2004
    Forester Meinert The FMC 2004
    Anura Chenin Blanc 2004
    The Winery of Good Hope 2005 Chenin Blanc
    Kanu 2004 Chenin Blanc
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Postby JC (NC) » Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:54 pm

I've had a few Pinot Blancs I enjoyed including the one from Ponzi in Oregon. I'm not particularly fond of Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio and liked the Ponzi Pinot Blanc better than their Pinot Gris. When made in a dry style I find P.B. to be food friendly and usually inexpensive. True, none has "wowed" me but I think they fill a niche. In fact, I would like one of the local restaurants to carry a Pinot Blanc (or more than one obscure Riesling) instead of their eight or so Cal Chards by the glass.
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Re: Pinot Blanc: Let's forget this grape

Postby Bob Henrick » Tue Apr 04, 2006 8:13 pm

Jenise wrote:Oliver, I can understand why you'd say that, but I'd still postulate that the worst California chardonnay I've had is still better than the best California pinot blanc I've had.


Hi Jenise, I know that OW won't bring it up, but I will. the O in OW is for Old, and the W stands for Willy, which is what his grandkids affectionately call him.. His name really is William, or Bill or OW! His better half is Beth, and she is much the better looking of the two halfs. Come To Mo'Cool this Aug, and meet them both!
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Postby Steve Edmunds » Tue Apr 04, 2006 9:08 pm

Jenise wrote:
Peter Ruhrberg wrote:Weissburgunder is taken quite seriously in Germany, and at least in the Pfalz is recognized as a 1 Gewächs grape. I'm not sure anyone imports them to the US, but look for Bergdoldt or Wehrheim for example, or Schneider from Baden. Their best Weissbuigunders are more serious than anything I've seen from Alsace.

Peter


Peter, thanks for the names. David says weissburgunder isn't imported, and he would know better than anyone, but odd things do occasionally turn up at auctions. I've found more than one will-never-find-it-here wine that way, so I keep a list of things to look for. I'll put Bergdolt, Wehrheim and Schneider on that list.

But I'm curious about your statement that the best Weissburgunders are more serious than anything from Alsace. Can you elaborate on what makes the German versions more 'serious'?


The first reason is that they're different grapes! (As I mentioned in my previous post!)
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Postby MarkE » Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:47 am

Steve Edmunds wrote:
Jenise wrote:But I'm curious about your statement that the best Weissburgunders are more serious than anything from Alsace. Can you elaborate on what makes the German versions more 'serious'?


The first reason is that they're different grapes! (As I mentioned in my previous post!)


In her Guide to Wine Grapes Jancis Robinson was a little vague on this but still seemed to indicate that the Alsace strain of PB (Gros Pinot Blanc) is the same as the German Weissburgunder.
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Re: Pinot Blanc: Let's forget this grape

Postby OW Holmes » Wed Apr 05, 2006 10:52 am

Bob Henrick wrote: His better half is Beth, and she is much the better looking of the two halfs.

Well, Bob!!!! And you have flat feet and can't play hockey. So there!
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Postby Isaac » Wed Apr 05, 2006 12:57 pm

My wife and I shared a Mersault that was recommended by our local vintner. The next day, she went to Benton Lane winery to pick up a few bottles, and came home with three bottles of their Pinot Blanc. I haven't come to a conclusion, but she thinks it's pretty good.
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Postby Erez » Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:04 am

Pinot Blanc is never going to be great. It will never make you wet your pants with excitement but compared to wines across the globe in the same price bracket it offers true varietal characteristics, a dry palate, a refreshing zing and a moreish quality usually missing at the lower end. As a low commitment summer drink it just can't be beat.
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This could be easily remedied

Postby Hoke » Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:19 pm

Never had a Pinot Blanc that did it for you, Jenise?

Easily fixed: find a Schiopetto Pinot Bianco from Friuli. Not that easy to do, of course, but it's still doable.

As for CA, I'm mostly with you there. Although I do recall Etude made some years ago that set the standard for me for CA Pinot Blanc. Don't have any idea whether they still do it, but haven't seen it in a very long time.
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Re: This could be easily remedied

Postby Jenise » Mon Apr 17, 2006 4:05 pm

Hoke (and others who recommended Terlan),

A kind soul who read this thread provided the Terlan experience for me last weekend in Los Angeles. And I recovered from amnesia and remembered an Alsatian Kreiss in particular that wowed me, so Alsace and Italy may keep their plantings--these are worthy wines. But I must assert that in the New World, two examples (your Etude and Steve Edmunds' Cameron from Oregon) are not enough to justify keeping the New World plantings when there are many wonderful grape varieties that would thrive here and make better wine.
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Re: Pinot Blanc: Let's forget this grape

Postby James Dietz » Mon Apr 17, 2006 4:21 pm

I just had this wine last week. I, frankly, didn't get any sweetness at all. I thought it was pretty damned good. Maybe your icecube was infused with sugar, Jenise... :lol:
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Re: This could be easily remedied

Postby Hoke » Mon Apr 17, 2006 4:27 pm

Jenise: I suspect even the Etude I mentioned is disqualified, since I vaguely recall being told it is the Melon grape, not Pinot Blanc.

But since I am an avowed proponent of diversity, in grapes and wines as in all other things, I'll have to stand staunchly in front of your deep ripping tractor when you try to uproot all those poor Pinot Blanc vines. :)

Besides, there are soooo many other vines that more richly deserve ripping out than Pinot Blanc.
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