Pinot Noir Blanc kind of sounds like an oxymoron, right? How can a red wine be white? And, if it is, how much will it still taste like the well-known (and for me beloved) varietal? I had so many questions when I saw folks posting pics of this unique Pinot Noir winemaking method a few weeks ago — from various different producers, mind you. Well, it was John and Irene Ingersoll of topochines.com to the rescue once again to help satiate my curiosity…
About the Wine: The Ghost Hill Cellars 2013 Pinot Noir Blanc is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from the Bayliss-Bower Vineyard located in the Yamhill Carlton AVA of Willamette Valley in Oregon. The grapes were whole-cluster pressed then sent to steel tank to settle. The juice was then racked off the heavy sediment, leaving just a touch of color and tannin behind. The juice was then transferred to another stainless steel tank, where it was fermented to complete dryness. The wine was aged sur lees for 6 months with regular battonage.
Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of this Pinot Noir Blanc and breathe in aromas of apple skins, green grass, and sun-dried dust. On the pour, this blanc is not white at all, instead it’s more of a peachy-pink, settling into the glass with a bit more of a jewel-like amber hue. Indeed, visually, it’s more reminiscent of a minimal skin-contact rosé.
Initial aromas are of caramel, strawberry candy, and white chocolate. Swirl, and awaken a strong floral perfume, a dose of acidity — but that decadence of candy and chocolate never go away. (Note: it does not smell, nor does it taste sweet — stick with me; keep reading.)
The palate of the Ghost Hill Cellars 2013 Pinot Noir Blanc is full, round, and almost completely smooth, except for that touch of texture at the very end. The acidity is lean, but rises, leaving a bit of warmth in the chest. The finish is clean, solid. The only lingering is in that heart-warming sensation and that kiss of texture — other than that the palate is left pure.
Dominant flavors during the mid-palate are of wild strawberries, white chocolate, white nectarines, almond flesh, pollen, jasmine and citrus oil.
Food Pairing: I paired the Ghost Hill Cellars 2013 Pinot Noir Blanc with a vegetarian pizza. Yes, I wanted to see how a white Pinot Noir paired with the Briscoe classic Pinot and Pizza Party. Well, this Pinot sure knows how to party. The mushrooms on the pie brought out some that floral earthiness that seems so unique to this wine. The kalamata olives, with their utter brininess, brought forward more of that fruit sensation, giving it an almost tropical slant.
Perfect pairing? I loved it and would recommend it. The winery also suggests pairing their Pinot Noir Blanc with creamy seafood dishes. I could definitely see that, although I’d personally be afraid that the decadence of such a dish would overpower the nuances found in the wine.
More Info: I received the Ghost Hill Cellars 2013 Pinot Noir Blanc as a gift from fellow bloggers and wine retailers John and Irene Ingersoll who write and sell at topochines.com . (Cheers guys!) Retail: $25. For more information about Ghost Hill Cellars and their wines, please visit the Ghost Hill Cellars website.
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