by Fred McMillin
The Bashful Blanc
"Pinot Blanc is a shy-bearing vine whose grapes grow in very small, compact clusters. In California, it is often overlooked and underrated."
...Robert Balzer's California Wines
The Rest of the Story
One winery that didn't overlook this Pinot was Mirassou. Fourth-generation vintners Norbert and Edmund Mirassou (left to right in photo) planted it in their new, cool Monterey vineyards some 50 years ago. They were too busy increasing sales under the Mirassou label from a trickle to over 100,000 cases annually to spend a lot of time on their Blanc. But critics had kind words, and about a decade ago, Mirassou even introduced a Harvest Reserve Pinot Blanc. That's our Wine of the Day.
1996 Pinot Blanc Harvest Reserve
Today in California there are something like 50 Chardonnay vines for every Pinot Blanc vine. Such was not always the case. Pioneer journalist Frank Schoonmaker recorded that 60 years ago, for every Chardonnay vine, there were about two of Pinot Blanc. We don't predict that Pinot Blanc will regain that lofty ratio, but we do predict that if you like your whites light and lively, you'll keep a couple of bottles of this Bashful Blanc in the closet.
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