by Fred McMillin
for May 22, 1997

When the Vintners Drew a Blanc

Prologue: "Noted French ampelographer Dr. Pierre Galet indicated that in California what was being called Pinot Blanc was really the variety know as Melon or Muscadet... though there may be some isolated vineyards of true Pinot Blanc"...personal correspondence from Napa vintner George Vierra, 1987.

The Rest of the Story: Dr. Galet caused a lot of turmoil, and many wineries had to remove "Pinot Blanc" from their labels. However, Lockwood knew of the problem, planted only the authentic varietal, and today produces one of the few 100% California Pinot Blancs. It's crisp and refreshing, with a light touch of oak. Best of all, it doesn't cost a bundle to taste this real McCoy.

1995 Pinot Blanc, Monterey County
Lockwood Vineyard
San Lucas, CA

Category: Recommended, particularly with fowl, fish, or fellowship.

POSTSCRIPT: Would you believe the Melon mixup was not Pinot blanc's first modern identification error. Since Pinot blanc and Chardonnay leaves have the same shape, the two were thought to be close kin. Hence, Chardonnay wine was labeled Pinot Chardonnay.(I have a few bottles in my cellar). However, further study showed they are not related, so Pinot Blanc is on its own. That '95 Lockwood tells me it will do OK.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf

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