View the 2014 curated wine gift guide.

The Guide to White Pinot Noir


December 3, 2012 Blog » Learn About Wine » The Guide to White Pinot Noir
Color of white pinot noir in a glass also known as vin gris or blanc de noir

White Pinot Noir Profile

MAJOR REGIONS: Champagne, Oregon, California, Alsace, Italy and Germany

White Pinot Noir Characteristics

FRUIT: Baked apple, pear, lemon and orange zest
OTHER: Honey, ginger, almond, pickled gobo
OAK: either. Usually unoaked.
TANNIN: Low
ACIDITY: Medium +
ABV: 9.5 – 13.5%
 
COMMON SYNONYMS:Pinot Noir Blanc, Pinot d’Alsace, Blanc de Noirs, Burgunder, Blanc de Noir Spätburgunder, Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, Pinot Nero Bianco

Should I take White Pinot Noir seriously?
Yes. Pinot Noir as a white wine has equal complexity and age-worthiness to Chardonnay.

 

What does White Pinot Noir taste like?

White Pinot Noir is richer than many white wines because it’s made with red wine grapes. It has flavors of baked apple and pear, with zesty notes of honey, orange and ginger. Depending on how it’s made, the color can range from a pale white gold to a deep saffron yellow.
 
white pinot noir color characteristics

Pinot D'Alsace with Pinot Noir by Laurent Barth

A glass of gold. Pinot d’Alsace

Different Styles Around the World

  • Unoaked Think tart and honey. Usually from Alsace and Champagne, unoaked White Pinot Noir tends to be brisker and feel lighter-bodied with higher acidity.
  • Oaked Think lemon brûlée. This style is growing in popularity in Oregon and California. Made just like a buttery Chardonnay, oaked White Pinot Noir has more candied orange brulee with mouth-puckering baked apple flavors.
  • Vin Gris aka Pinot Noir Rosé. Known in California as Vin Gris, it is the same as Pinot Noir Rosé. Light contact with the grape skin dyes the wine pale pink to a deep rose hue.

How White Pinot Noir is Made

Here’s how it’s done from a winemaker’s perspective.

“White Pinot Noir is made like a white wine. It is juice fermenting in the absence of skins and a very different fermentation than red wine fermentation. [Anne Amie Vineyards’] is barrel fermented, like Chardonnay. Others are tank fermented in stainless steel. It is a much cooler/slower fermentation than red wine fermentation.
 
Our style uses fully-ripe Pinot Noir. A small portion of free-run juice is liberated by the press and once that is done the grapes get sorted a second time and made into Pinot Noir. Some wineries do opt to use underripe Pinot Noir for their wines.”
 

Thomas Houseman Winemaker, Anne Amie Vineyards

Pinot Noir Sorting Table Oregon Harvest Anne Amie Vineyards

The sorting table at Anne Amie Vineyards in Oregon


Pinot Nero Bianco Cà Montebello

White Pinot Noirs are more common in Italy & Germany

Who Makes White Pinot Noir?

I won’t lie. As delicious as White Pinot Noir is, this stuff is hard to find. You should keep your eyes peeled for the following list of producers.

Oregon Anne Amie, Domaine Serene, Willakenzie Estate, J.K. Carriere, Ghost Hill, Novy Family
California Pinot Noir Blanc and Blanc de Noirs Schramsberg, Domaine Carneros
Alsace Pinot d’Alsace Zind Humbrecht, Laurent Barth, Bott-Geyl, Trimbach most are a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris
Germany Blanc de Noir Spätburgunder Meyer-Näkel, Paul Anheuser, Haltinger Stiege, Gutzler, Weingut Fitz Ritter
Italy Pinot Nero Bianco Sillery, Paladin, Gugiarolo, Torti, Cà Montebello,
 

The Secret to Cristal Champagne?
Rumor has it Louis Roederer’s Cristal Champagne is composed mostly of White Pinot Noir.

a world map showing the prime regions for growing pinot noir

The “Pinot Noir” belt.


 

White Pinot Noir Food Pairing

White Pinot Noir is a lot like Chardonnay when pairing with food.

crab avocado salad by veganfeastcatering fresh pasta with sage at spinasse Seattle halibut with broccoli radish lricharz
 
tofu misozuke on toast spread by andrea nguyen truffle and tripe at chez pim White pizza with sage with white pinot noir

 
A sip of White Pinot Noir would be the perfect quenching sip to crab and avocado salad with lemon dressing. Try it with cream-based soups and dishes with cream-based sauces. Pinot Noir in all its forms is a great partner to mushrooms. So if you’re a mushroom lover, go get a bottle of White Pinot Noir.

Selecting a meat? Think “White” and go for chicken, pork chops or even fish and chips.

Sources
Anne Amie Vineyards


SUBSCRIBE TO GET FRESH WEEKLY WINE STORIES
Do you like this post?


By Madeline Puckette
I'm a certified wine geek with a passion for meeting people, travel, and delicious food. You often find me crawling around dank cellars or frolicking through vineyards.