Pinot Blanc – Delta Estate's Newest Adventure

Pinot Blanc – Delta Estate's Newest Adventure

For those eagle-eyed, you may have spotted a recent addition to the Delta Estate portfolio.

Pinot Blanc is our newest varietal addition, but unless you’re familiar with the variety, you might be a little confused – is it Pinot Gris? Is it Sauvignon Blanc?

It’s neither.

Pinot Blanc is its own variety, and is most commonly associated with Alsace in the North Eastern corner of France. It’s a genetic mutation of the Pinot Noir variety (as is Pinot Gris) and was often confused with Chardonnay in Burgundy years ago.

A popular variety in Northern Europe, Pinot Blanc is now starting to find its feet in Marlborough, with a handful of producers enjoying exploring its style.

Delta’s Pinot Blanc is grown just north of the founding Delta Pinot Noir vineyard, in the Waihopai Valley at the confluence with the Wairau River. The vines were planted in 1998 and are cane pruned and vertical-shoot-positioned (VSP) to maximize airflow. Soils are a combination of a clay underlay and gravelly riverbed above, providing the perfect balance between free-draining stones, and water holding clay.

Our winemaking is relatively minimal, so Heather can focus on ensuring the variety and location speak for themselves. Fermented in stainless steel to retain its primary characters, the wine was then left on its lees to add complexity and texture to the palate, before gentle fining and bottling.

Stylistically, Pinot Blanc is restrained on the aromas – it doesn’t pop like Sauvignon Blanc. It expresses an elegant combination of peach and nectarine, delicate citrus, and a white pepper on the nose. On the palate, our style is bone-dry, with refreshing stone fruit and subtle florals, working in harmony with naturally high acidity. The body is round and medium to full bodied, making this an excellent food pairing option with meals such as roast chicken or hearty risotto.

Most interestingly, we’re finding Pinot Blanc to be superbly age worthy for five to eight years. The high acidity, round body and sumptuous stone fruits give this wine excellent structure and capacity to develop in bottle over time.

If you’re a lover of Chardonnay or dry white wines in general, why not give Pinot Blanc a try on your next wine adventure?

~ Cheers, Alison

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