Does Pinot Blanc get enough respect?

Tom Cannavan

There are exceptions that prove the rule, many of them cited already in this thread, so I think my answer would be: yes, generally it gets the respect it deserves.

I think of it as a second division wine grape for sure, requiring the exceptional to get something truly excellent out of it. I appear to have notes on 101 Pinot Blanc wines in my database here, with 15 hitting a score in the 90s, but all of those are scraping in with 90 or 91 (Alsace, South Africa, Austria and New Zealand) save for one wine from Josmeyer that scored 92. The vast majority are in the 86 - 89 middle of the road, 'bronze to low silver' range, which is probably about right for me.

[edit] just an edit as I forgot to also search for 'Pinot Bianco', 'weissburgunder', and other variations. Bumps the number tasted up to 138, adds a few more 90+ wines from Germany and Italy, but with the same overall trend as far as scores are concerned.
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  • 2016 Domaine Henri Gouges Pinot Blanc Bourgogne Blanc - France, Burgundy, Bourgogne Blanc (27/02/2021)
    Lemon coloured; narrow focused bouquet, cornflowers; crisp, laser light acidity, 'minerality', stylishly understated, good attack on finish. A food wine. Drink soon. (89 pts.)
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As with many varieties, I think there are many who make great examples but many thousands who knock out versions which differ little in quality from much PG. But there are few grape varieties incapable of making exceptional wine in the right hands. Even, in some cases, hybrid varieties which most wine aficionados would not give the time of day.

I will say that having returned to Alsace again in recent years I found myself drinking it at lunch time quite often, and this in turn made me make sure I bought a few bottles at every address I tasted at. PB can be pretty versatile.
  • 2017 Holger Koch Weissburgunder Scheibenhardt - Germany, Baden (23/03/2021)
    Deep straw; honeyed & spicy notes, pear, more than a nod to Pinot gris; a rich texture, with acidity giving cut, good dry extract; tight finish. Merits a little more time. (88 pts.)
  • 2018 Au Bon Climat Pinot Gris / Pinot Blanc - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (02/03/2021)
    Pale; intriguing bouquet; spicy, good weight, expansive. Broad finish, retains freshness. Very long. Drink over next couple of years. (89 pts.)
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