Holidays in hand, it’s safe to say there’s sure to be a flock of succulent fowl featuring prominently on dinner tables throughout the season, be it turkey, chicken, game hen, or quail, etc. Which wines shall accompany our feathered friends during these festive meals will mostly be a matter of personal preference, taste and budget. And while I contend that there’s hardly a wrong wine to serve with your holiday feast, there are a few choices that offer a bit more food-friendly flexibility versus some others.
Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio’s viticultural cousin, Pinot Blanc is definitely one of these. Both grapes can trace their origins to Alsatian France. Pinot Blanc is also significant in Germany and the US, particularly in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Pinot Blanc typically produces a zesty, dry and crisp white wine. Appreciated for its crunchy apple and citrus profile, it often displays high-toned floral notes with a pleasing wisp of white pepper. Pinot Blanc is suited to many dishes including seafood and poultry. It’s focused enough to stand alongside rich cream and butter sauces. It is also an ideal partner for soft white cheeses.
The charm of Pinot Blanc is perhaps best reflected on its home turf in Alsace. Since 2011, Philippe & Pascale Zinck have implemented a strict organic and biodynamic agricultural regimen on their vineyards. Their Domaine Zinck Pinot Blanc Terroir ($13) culminates in a wine alive with the scent of spring flowers, Anjou pear and white plum fruit supported by a fine mineral spine.
Across the Rhine in Germany, Pinot Blanc is traditionally known as Weissburgunder, although you’re less likely to find it bottled under this moniker here in Florida. Produced in the Rheinhessen, PJ Valckenberg Pinot Blanc ($12) is a solid value, sporting a bright palate of orange zest, white peach, nectarine and slate.
The Willamette Valley is Oregon’s top wine appellation and has long been noted for some of the best examples of Pinot Gris in the US. Recently, however, there’s been a conscious shift by wineries in the valley toward Pinot Blanc, which seems to better translate the varied volcanic, sedimentary, and loess sub-soils contained within the region. Athena Pappas and Stuart Boedecker of Boedecker Cellars have created a delightfully juicy Pappas Wine Company Pinot Blanc ($16), offering generous citrus blossom, honeysuckle, melon, quince and wet stone.
Jim Greeley, wine supervisor, SW Florida
Follow me on Twitter @ABCWineJimG