On our estate vineyards we farm three vines in the Pinot family: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and the more unusual Pinot Blanc. These varietals are so closely related that occasionally a winegrower will discover two types on the same vine.
How does this happen? Well Pinot Gris is a natural mutation of Pinot Noir that lacks pigment in one of its two outer layers. And then there’s Pinot Blanc, which is missing the skin pigment from both layers. This is how the three Pinot grapes can look so different while sharing almost 100% of their DNA.
So are they the same wine? Absolutely not. Skin pigment plays a huge role in Pinot Noir, adding color, complexity and tannin. Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc are both made as white wines, but Pinot Blanc takes on mineral components in a unique way, making it a popular varietal in Alsatian sparkling wines. Blanc is often compared with Chardonnay, with an acid profile that can vary considerably, from “flabby” to “zippy”. Blanc is known for citrus, melon, apricot, and pear flavors sometimes with almost smoky undertones.
Not many wineries grow Pinot Blanc, but it is one of our favorite varietals to make and we hope you enjoy it too. Cheers!
Pinot Blanc Pairing Suggestion: Campbell Family Crab Cakes
We love this recipe in our family. Dungeness crab season in Oregon often coincides with the end of harvest, so it’s the time of year for family gatherings. We don’t always make it to the coast to go crabbing ourselves, but sitting around the table shelling cooked crab from the fishmonger is also a great way to catch up while anticipating the great meal ahead, usually while savoring a glass of what we in the Campbell family call “cooking wine” (wine poured for the cooks).
For the cakes:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
3 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon
4 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
4 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
ground black pepper to taste
1 pound cooked blue or Dungeness crabmeat
2 cups panko bread crumbs (divided)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the Skillet:
2 tablespoons (or more) butter
2 tablespoons (or more) olive oil or grapeseed oil
For the salad:
salad greens of your choice
3tbs olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dijon
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
serve with crusty bread & hot sauce
In large bowl, whisk ingredients the first 10 ingredients together. Mix in crabmeat, and break it up into a rough, chunky texture while feeling with your hands for any remaining pieces of shell. In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup panko with the cayenne then fold into crab mixture. Let stand while panko soaks up the liquid from crab mixture. Place the remaining panko in a flat bottomed bowl or tray. Form crab into patties about 2.5 inches in diameter (about 12) then press both sides of patties into the panko. Chill the formed patties for 1 to 4 hours in the fridge.
To fry, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook crab cakes on both sides for about 4-5 minutes until they are browned, adding oil as needed to the skillet.
Make a vinaigrette with any remaining herbs, tossing lightly into your greens and serving alongside your favorite crusty bread. Season if desired with lemon wedges and louisiana-style hot sauce – Crystal is our favorite but Tabasco or Texas Pete work equally well. Cheers!
Pinot Blanc at Harvest