I have to confess to being partial to the occasional Pinot Bianco. But I have a guilty feeling when I say that because I know the reason is that it won’t tax me that much. Think of a Pinot Grigio and make it a bit more soft, creamy, and peachy and that is basically what you get. A nice glass of white but one that won’t rock your world.
There are two main styles that you can find of this grape, one from France (Pinot Blanc) and the other Italy (Pinot Bianco); and they are quite different from each other. If you are a fan of Italian whites then look for the Pinot Bianco from Northern Italy; or Slovenia if you are feeling adventurous. These are crisp, dry and thirst quenching.
But then you go to the Pinot Blanc style, most notably from Alsace and it is a whole different ball game. I love these styles for being richer in fruit, more honey’d, creamy and often a little musky with a hint of residual sugar. They can be aged in large oak barrels that gives them that extra roundness. They are fantastic for matching with spicy food.
Pinot Bianco is naturally low in acidity which is why the wine can taste more soft and creamy than Pinot Grigio. It needs to be planted in the best sites to excel. Those that are higher on a hillside tend to deliver lower yields and better acidity which encourages it to be that little more flavoursome and fresh. Some ambitious styles of Italian Pinot Bianco is oak aged but this can easily overwhelm the flavour if not well handled. It is also known as Weissburgunder in Germany.
Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay (unoaked), Chasselas, Arneis, Cortese
Italy: Veneto, Lombardy, Collio, Fruili, Alto Adige
USA: California, Oregan
Other: Canada, South Africa, Slovenia
Chicken casserole, pork escalopes, mild curries or tagines (Pinot Blanc styles), asparagus or spring vegetables