Posts Tagged Pinot Blanc

A look at Pinot Blanc

The article was first published in The Irish Times, 25th June, 2022

Known as Pinot Bianco in Italy and Weissburgunder in Germany and Austria, Pinot Blanc, which makes a light, summery white wine, is widely grown but rarely gets the attention it deserves. A less colourful cousin of both Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris (as in Grigio), it can make very good, occasionally excellent white wines. These days it is found mainly in Germany, Italy and Alsace in France. As an ingredient in sparkling wine, it is permitted in Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Bourgogne, Franciacorta in Italy and even Champagne. As a white wine, it tends to be light and refreshing with low alcohol (and therefore a great alternative to Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc), although in Austria it produces some deliciously textured wines, as well as some decadently rich sweet wines.

Most Riesling lovers go a little giddy at the mention of the name Maximim Grünhaus. This is one of the finest and most historic estates in the Ruwer valley, part of the Mosel in Germany, and responsible for some of the most delicate, exquisite Rieslings of all. There are three vineyards, the Herrenberg, the Abtsberg and Bruderberg, that produced wine for the choirmasters, abbot and brothers respectively when it was under church ownership. There is a small plot of Pinot Blanc in the Herrenberg, which produces the wine featured here.

Georg Prieler runs an organic estate on the gentle slopes running up from the Neusiedlersee in Austria. Here he produces an impeccable range of wines including some very stylish Sankt Laurent and several outstanding Blaufränkisch. However, the wines that really impress are his Weissburgunders. As well as the Seeburg here, he offers two superb single vineyard Pinot Blancs. While not cheap, I would rank this alongside great Riesling and Chardonnay produced elsewhere.

The Hans Baer is new to me, but is a great example of inexpensive Pinot Blanc. Aldi and Lidl offered a good well-priced Pinot Blanc last summer. Sadly neither have repeated the exercise this year. I featured the excellent Kuentz-Bas (€16.95/€18.95) from O’Briens earlier this year. Elsewhere Trimbach and Hugel both offer good versions at just under the €20 mark, and Mitchell & Son has one from Sipp Mack for €17.95. At just over €20, Meyer-Fonné, Zinck, and Ginglinger are all well worth trying too. From Italy, Wines on the Green have Pinot Blanc from the highly regarded Cantina Tramin, as well as Schiopetto. I am also a fan of Franz Haas Lepus (€25.50).

As a fresh crisp dry wine, Pinot Blanc is an ideal partner for all kinds of fish and salad dishes. The more textured style is perfect with pork and chicken dishes. Try Alsace versions with onion tart, quiche and flammkuchen, and Italian Pinot Blanc with lighter risottos and frittata.

Hans Baer Pinot Blanc Trocken 2020, Rheinhessen, Germany

€11.99-€12.99, 12.5%

Snappy fresh green apple fruits with a racy zesty citrus acidity. A nice aperitif, or with grilled sea bass or white fish.

From:; Cheers Gibneys, Malahide; Mc Hugh’s D5; The Vintry, D6; Martins, D3; Londis Malahide; No 21 Cork; Matson’s, Cork; Dalys; Redmond’s D6; Myles Creek, Kilkee Co Clare; Cove Stores, Tramore; Brosnans, Schull; Jus De Vin Portmarnock; Select Carry Out and SuperValu outlets.

Maximin Grünhaus Maximin Pinot Blanc 2020, Mosel, Germany

12.5%, €20.99

Brisk and reviving with a charming perfumed nose, crisp citrus, pear and melon fruits, finishing bone dry. Try it with baked or poached salmon with dill.

From: Red Nose Wine, Clonmel; Martins, D3; Redmonds, D6;

Seeberg Pinot Blanc 2020, Burgenland, Prieler, Austria (Organic)

13% €26.50

An utterly delicious wine with inviting gently floral aromas, followed by textured pear and yellow stone fruits that linger very nicely. Enjoy it with richer fish dishes, and roast pork or chicken.

From: Martins, D3; Ely Wine Store, Maynooth; 64 Wine, Glasthule; DSix, Harold’s Cross.

Dornach 1.2 Yellow Spot 2019, IGT Vigneti delle Dolomite, Italy, (Biodynamic)

11.5%, €29.50

A seductive light delicate spring-like wine with fresh herbs, thirst-quenching green fruits, and a crisp dry finish. Solo, with nibbles or light summery salads.

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Marc Kreydenweiss Pinot Blanc, Alsace

<strong>Marc Kreydenweiss Pinot Blanc, Alsace

Kritt Pinot BlancMarc Kreydenweiss Pinot Blanc, Alsace
€17.95 from O’Briens

Lively and fresh, a perfectly formed combination of pure apple and pear fruits with a lovely lingering finish.

We drank it as an aperitif (with tortilla chips, possibly not the best match), but also with some very fresh plain boiled prawns – delicious.

Every now and again you come across a wine that everybody likes; both the wine geeks and those who just want to drink a nice glass of wine, and everyone else in between. This is one such wine. Having tasted it myself, I tested it out on a gang of half a dozen or more friends before a casual dinner recently. Without being asked, they all raved about it. Why? It is light but full of flavour and it has a perfect balance of fruit and acidity. It is not cheap, but if you are looking for a failsafe aperitif, this is certainly an option.

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Schlumberger Pinot Blanc Les Princes Abbés

Schlumberger Pinot Blanc Les Princes Abbés

DSCF5690Schlumberger Pinot Blanc 2013, Les Princes Abbés

Light and fresh but with very moreish juicy melon and pear fruits, and a nicely rounded finish.

Perfect as a posh aperitif, with fish or maybe an Alsatian onion tart.

Available from Searsons, Monkstown,

I bumped into Séverine Schlumberger recently, at the portfolio tasting held by Tindal & Co. We had great fun doing a masterclass on Riesling together in Ballymaloe House a few years ago. Much of this family-owned estate is now farmed biodynamically. I have been enjoying a range of Pinot Blancs from Alsace over the last year, and featured several in my wine guide. They seem to have improved a lot in recent years and make for very good easy-drinking refreshing wines with lovely rounded fruits.

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The wonderful wines of Alsace

The wonderful wines of Alsace

From the Irish Times Saturday 8th August 2015

Tucked away in a corner along the eastern border of France, Alsace is often passed over by wine lovers. I admit to being guilty of this myself. I cannot remember when I last featured the wines from this region. It holds a place dear in my heart, and not just because of the lovely wines, for it was here that I spent my honeymoon.Mind you, it was bitterly cold in early March so romantic walks among the vines were not really an option. I have been back several times since though. This is a beautiful region with great walks and delicious food too. I would highly recommend a visit, preferably avoiding the summer months when picturesque towns such as Riquewihr are jammed with tourists. Alsace offers a range of great wines including a few light red wines and some very good rosés, both made from pinot noir. But the region is best known for its fantastic dry white wines. These deserve to be better known by the Irish wine drinker.

At first glance the wine nomenclature seems very clear. Alsace is the one region of France that has always allowed varietal labelling. A wide variety of grape varieties are permitted, but you are most likely to come across riesling, gewürztraminer, pinot gris, pinot blanc and muscat for white wines, and pinot noir for red and rosé. The majority of wines are crisp, clean, fruity and dry, exactly the kind we like to drink. Alsace also makes some great sweet wines. The term “vendange tardive” on a label means that the grapes were harvested late and the wine is likely to be medium dry.The classification Sélection des Grains Nobles (SGN) indicates a wine made from grapes affected by noble rot, as with a Beerenauslese in Germany. This is likely to be sweet, although with both of the above wines it depends on the grape variety and producer. Again this seems fairly clear. The problem with Alsace for wine drinkers is that in recent years, some wine producers have started to make off-dry wines. This is partly a result of rising temperatures and lower yields. But very few give any indication on the label, making it difficult for the consumer to know what kind of wine they are buying. A few grams of residual sugar is not a problem, but I have bought a number of sweet flabby wines that lacked acidity.This trend seems to be reversing a little, but when buying a bottle it is best to stick to well-known names or ask the shop assistant for advice.

As in Germany, riesling is held in the highest esteem. The very best are brilliant, compelling wines, powerful and complex with a taut steely acidity.Lower down the scale, you get lovely fresh apple and citrus fruits. Gewürztraminer seems to have fallen out of fashion a little, but when made well, the wines can be a great match for Indian and other Asian dishes, as can pinot gris, which tends to made in an off-dry style in Alsace.The surprise of my tasting were two pinot blancs, one each from Hugel and Trimbach. Both were light (12-12.5 per cent) elegant wines with plump juicy fruits and a pleasure to drink as an aperitif. Alsace also produces large quantities of sparkling crémant d’Alsace, some of it very good. The best vineyards in Alsace are designated grand cru. There are some 50 of these. Generally these are made from a single variety (although some producers are allowed to blend several) and it will appear on the label.

The two big names are Trimbach and Hugel. Both are good. I am particularly fond of Trimbach. Two co-operatives, the Cave de Turckheim and the Cave de Hunawihr, widely available through independents, produce a solid range of wines. Look out too for anything from Josmeyer, Zind-Humbrecht, Weinbach, René Muré, Sipp Mack, Meyer-Fonné and Kientzler.

DSCF5739Trimbach Riesling 2012

A lifted floral nose followed by lovely crisp lip-smacking green apple fruits, and a bone dry finish.

Stockists: widely available in independent wine shops.

DSCF5690Domaines Schlumberger Riesling Les Princes Abbés 2012

Enticing fresh quince and honey fruits with a lovely lingering finish.

Stockists: Searsons, Monkstown.

DSCF5673Muré Riesling Grand Cru Vorbourg Clos Saint Landelin 2012

Riesling at its imperious best. Complex intense honeyed fruit with a steely backbone.

Stockists: Mitchell & Son, chq, Sandycove & Avoca Kilmacanogue.

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Hugel Cuvée des Amours 2011, Pinot Blanc de Blancs

Hugel Cuvée des Amours 2011, Pinot Blanc de Blancs


Light apple and quince fruits with a clean refreshing acidity. Perfect sipping wine or with salads and lighter fish dishes.

Pinot Blanc generally gets a pretty bad press, rated lower than Pinot Gris/Grigio, which isn’t saying much. ‘Useful rather than exciting’, according to Jancis Robinson. I think this is a little unfair; I have to say I enjoy the soft easy fruitiness you get from Pinot Blanc and its cousin Auxerrois. I usually prefer them to Pinot Gris/Grigio and they make great party wines, guaranteed not to offend and very likely to please.

Available from The Vintry, Rathmines, Redmond’s, Ranelagh and

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