About the wine
is a genetic mutation or clone of pinot gris, which is in turn, a clone of pinot noir. The leaf structure, clusters and berries so resemble Chardonnay that there are many vineyards in Europe where plantings of the two grapes are intermingled. This may have led to some confusion and mis-naming of grapes as "pinot chardonnay" (chardonnay is decidedly not of the pinot family).
Clones of pinot blanc
vary in vine vigor and fruit production capacity, but all clones are characteristically high in acid and low in aromatic intensity. Leafroll virus is almost endemic in pinot blanc and both size and general vine vigor are below average when propogated from older plantings. Bunches are compact and not suited to rain-prone locations, although crop recovery from early frost tends to be above-average. Crop size varies from three to five tons per acre, depending on clone and vine size.
berry skins have an unusually high tannin content and the wines are prone to browning.
is allowed in both the Mâconnais and wine labeled "Bourgogne Blanc", but plantings are nearly phased out of the Burgundy appellation. There are still many pinot blanc vineyards in Alsace, where the variety sometimes is called Klevner.
Plantings are extensive in Italy, where the grape is known as pinot bianco
. Many vintners there make relatively neutral-tasting, crisp, high-acid versions intended for early consumption. Due to its low aroma and high acid, high production clones of pinot blanc are also used for blending with muscat in Spumante.
There are vineyards in both Germany and Austria, where pinot blanc may be called Weissburgunder and is even made into a trockenbeerenauslese version. There is also much pinot blanc planted in Eastern Europe.
A considerable amount of pinot blanc
is planted in Uruguay and Argentina. Most of the 1,000 or so acres of pinot blanc in California are planted in Monterey County.
Aroma in pinot blanc
is very light, non-distinct, nearly neutral. It is balanced with high acid and can be full-bodied. California winemakers frequently get fairly good results by applying the same techniques as they might to Chardonnay, barrel fermentation, lees stirring, full malolactic, etc.