Uncovering the appeal of Pinot Blanc and its best food pairings
Often mistaken for Chardonnay, the humble white wine, Pinot Blanc, is slowly gaining back the interest of several wine enthusiasts after years of being misunderstood and getting sidelined for its bland, subtle and neutral taste. While not as popular and glamorous as its siblings – the Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris – Pinot Blanc traces its roots to Burgundy, France but is now grown in many different European territories with a cool climate particularly its stronghold, Alsace, France, and Alto Adige in Northern Italy where it is called Pinot Bianco, as well as in Germany and Austria, where it is known as Weissburgunder. The global commercial production of Pinot Blanc by other winemakers has brought Pinot Blanc to the U.S., particularly in its own wine region— California, as well as in Canada, Argentina and Uruguay.
Pinot Blanc characteristics
Pinot Blanc’s taste varies depending on the grape treatment and production by region— that’s why the subtle, bland, and neutral taste remark from wine insiders. Additionally, it is often mistaken for Chardonnay because of the similarities in colour and acidity. In reality, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay share similarities in the winemaking treatment process in terms of oak maturity resulting in both having a dry and medium- to full-bodied taste. But generally, Pinot Blanc has a clean and refreshing taste with a hint of smokiness and varietal – varietal as an adjective which means the grape variety’s flavour and aroma, characters of apple, pear, citrus and almond.
To note, Pinot Blanc is the name of the white grape varietal – this time as a noun denoting the wine’s exclusive single grape variety, and has varied characteristics from how and where it is grown and processed. Let’s take a closer look at the three most popular white wine from the same variety:
Pinot Blanc: Alsace’s Pinot Blanc tends to be dry, creamy with almond and hints of apple and spice. It is also used for the French sparkling wine Cremant d’Alsace.
Pinot Bianco: Northern Italy’s Pinot Bianco is made crisper and lighter. It is used in the production of the region’s sparkling wine, particularly Franciacorta.
Weissburgunder: Citrusy, with hints of melon, pear and green nuts, Germany and Austria’s Weissburgunder sweet and lighter. It is used in trockenbeerenauslese, which is Austria’s sweet wine made from late harvest grapes.
The best Pinot Blanc and food pairings
Pinot Blanc has a good acidity and softer, smoky character that matches perfectly with food that has a subtle flavour like soft cheeses. Additionally, Pinot Blanc can be paired with light meat as well with salads and pasta with a creamy sauce and dressing.
Here are our 6 best Pinot Blanc food pairings:
The best way to make a Thai Lime Roast Chicken is to make sure that the skin is crispy while the meat remains tender. Thai Lime Roast Chicken’s sweet lime flavour compliments Pinot Blanc’s hints of citrus and light taste. This is an ideal dish to serve at lunch or dinner.
This classic pesto pasta recipe from Genoa in Northern Italy has a thick and creamy sauce that is rich in texture and flavour. The Shrimp and Fresh Pesto Pasta is best served on warm summer days with a glass of Pinot Bianco.
Mixed with an easy pickled roasted garlic, the red potato salad’s sharp flavour will definitely excite your taste buds. This family-style lunch and dinner dish pairs perfectly with the light and crisp taste of Pinot Blanc, which will balance flavours altogether.
Quiche is a French tart filled with heavy cream, cheese and smoky bacon bits. This classic tart dish also originated in Alsace where Pinot Blanc is grown. They obviously make a good wine and food pairing that is ideal for brunch.
The smoky and natural sweetness of Grilled Scallops makes a great match with Pinot Blanc’s dry and full-bodied flavour. The scallop’s meat, when grilled, is caramelised, creating an interesting flavour when paired with this white wine.
Although these are not dishes, it will be a mortal sin not to include a cheese and wine pairing. These are the best selection of cheeses to pair with Pinot Blanc. These soft cheeses are creamy, which makes them an absolute match with the dry, full-bodied, and bright flavours of Pinot Blanc. These are great to serve as appetisers or at picnics.
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