Pinot Blanc

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

French white vine variety, member of the pinot family and particularly associated with alsace, where most of its French 1,245 ha/3,075 acres in 2011 were to be found. It was first observed in Burgundy at the end of the 19th century, a white mutation of pinot gris, which is itself a lighter-berried version of pinot noir. Although its base is Burgundian, today it is found all over central Europe.

For many years no distinction was made between Pinot Blanc and chardonnay since the two varieties can look very similar. No Pinot Blanc is notable for its piercing aroma; its perfume arrives in a cloud. Most wines based on Pinot Blanc are also relatively full bodied, which has undoubtedly helped reinforce the confusion with Chardonnay, not only in Burgundy but also in north east Italy, where it is known as pinot bianco. Although Chardonnay dominates white burgundy, Pinot Blanc is technically allowed into wines labelled bourgogne Blanc and into some white mâcon, but is no longer grown in any quantity in Burgundy.