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When people think of Pinot Blanc, I assume Alsace comes to their minds or if one is thinking more historically, perhaps Burgundy and Champagne. And while there are many delicious wines made from or including Pinot Blanc from these regions of France, we are excited to turn your thoughts further east, to Germany! Known as Weissburgunder (or Weisser Burgunder), the variety has gained in both popularity and hectarage in the past forty years, currently making up around 5% of Germany's vineyard plantings, with Baden being home to the lion's share followed by Rheinhessen and Pfalz (according to Wines of Germany).
Today we offer up three to consider: from Koehler-Ruprecht in the Pfalz, as well as Weingut Holger Koch and newcomer Wasenhaus both in Baden. The unifying thread between these wines is a mineral freshness coupled with concentration; a balance struck, even in the warmer climes of southwest Germany. The wines can fit in with all seasons, but right now we are really enjoying them as a spirited option during this gloomy winter weather, paired with dishes like vegetable gratin, pork schnitzel, roasted chicken with potatoes, and of course, spending quality time with a cheese plate. Cari Bernard
Holger Koch makes some of the most elegant wines in the Baden region (located in southwest Germany). Working mostly with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc, he's been making wines with a singular finesse in a region where the co-op is king. The Scheibenhardt Weissburgunder is Pinot Blanc grown on a southwest-facing terrace (loess and volcanic soils) at 350 meters above sea level. Grapes are hand-harvested, ferment spontaneously, and the wine ages on the lees for seven months in a 1200L barrel. Flabby this is not—deeply mineral and floral on the nose, grass, apricot, apple blossom, the palate has a distinct saline cut and bright minerality to balance the radiant pear, green strawberry, and lemon zest with a delicate herbal bitterness. Cari Bernard
While we love the Rieslings from Koehler-Ruprecht in Kallstadt, Pfalz, they also make magic with Weissburgunder (and Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, you get the picture)! 40 to 50-year-old vines planted on calcareous soils (Annaberg, Steinacker vineyards), fermentation is in stainless tank and the wine ages in used wood. Just shy of medium-bodied with piquant notes of sour orange oil, quince, and tropical flavors of ripe pineapple and young ginger, rounded out by subtle creaminess. Cari Bernard
Alexander Götze and Christoph Wolber met while making wine in Burgundy. Their friendship led to their return to Germany, and they've made it their mission to find unique old-clone parcels of old vines, their total hectareage is currently at 1.5 ha. The vineyards range in soils from shell limestone, loam, loess, and gravel, to volcanic soils on the Kaiserstuhl. The Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) is from 30-year-old vines, planted on loess and volcanic soils; whole-cluster basket-pressed, and aged in two 600 Liter barrels for twelve months followed by six months of settling in stainless tank before bottling with low amounts of sulfur. Delicately floral on the nose with whispers of stone, the wine is beautifully concentrated with lively acidity playing off the ripe apples, yellow pears, and just a touch of herbs on the finish. Cari Bernard