2016 Blanc de Noir, Pinot Noir, Paul Anheuser
This week I tried a white Pinot Noir. Yes, you read that correctly, a
Pinot Noir. White Pinot Noirs are hard to find, so I jumped at the chance to try it when I saw that
, my go to local wine shop, had it in stock. White Pinot Noir is made in only a handful of places; Oregon, California, the Alsace region of Eastern France, Germany, and Italy. Even the regions that do make it, don't make very much of it. This white Pinot Noir comes from the Anheuser family vineyards in the Nahe region of Germany. The family has been in the vineyard and wine-making business since the 1600's, but they only started producing white Pinot Noir within the last 10-15 years. For most of the vineyard history, they exclusively produced Riesling (who doesn't love a good dry German Riesling) but the younger generation of Anheusers have started experimenting with some more innovative wines.
White Pinot Noir is made like other white wines. It is fermented without the grape skins. Most red wines get their color from the grape skins, not the inside of the grapes, and the depth of the color and strength of tannins are determined by how long in the fermenting process the skins are kept in the barrels with the wine. White Pinot Noir is made from the same grapes as red Pinot Noir, it's just not fermented with the skins. Sometimes wine-makers specifically use under-ripe Pinot Noir grapes to make white Pinot Noir, because they aren't as well suited for red, but other wine-makers don't differentiate. This particular white Pinot Noir is fermented in stainless steel tanks, so that it doesn't have any oakiness to it.
Now, how does white Pinot Noir differ in taste and smell from traditional red Pinot Noir? When I stuck my nose in this wine, I got notes of peach, apricot, honey, and almond. I took a sip and picked up more nuance in the fruity notes. It wasn't just peach and apricot, it was slightly overripe peach and apricot, like when you have to eat it in the next day or else it will go bad, so it's even sweeter and juicier than normal. I also picked up notes of baked pear and ripe yellow nectarine. The honey note came through strong too in the taste. The almond was a very subtle flavor, and I also got a note of biscuitiness. At first I thought that this wine was a little bit sweet, but when I tasted it more and thought more about it, I realized that I was mistaking low acidity for sweetness. This wine doesn't have the crispness, citrus notes, or minerality that I generally prefer in a white. I would recommend this to someone who likes Chardonnay, it's not oaky like a traditional Chardonnay, but it has that same rich, buttery, fullness to it.
I paired this wine with some simple Mahi Mahi tacos, and I think the tacos were too delicate for the wine. This white Pinot Noir would pair better with salmon, chicken alfredo, or a creamy lobster bisque.