Edi Simcic Beli Pinot 2009
A picturesque, eastern European wine growing nation, Slovenia can claim one of the most ancient winemaking cultures in all of Europe. Its history dates back to the Celts and Illyrians tribes, well before the Romans had any influence on France, Spain or Germany. But it wasn’t until the 1970s that Slovenia developed a more refined, private-sector wine industry.
Today it is a powerful source of some of the industry’s most important orange wines (whites made with extended skin contact); furthermore, fully three quarters of the country’s wine production is white.
Slovenian weather is continental with hot summers and cold, wet winters. It is divided into three wine regions: Podravje in Slovenia’s northeast; Primorska in its west, close to Italy; and Posavje in its southeast. These are further divided to nine wine districts.
Approachable, aromatic and pleasantly plush on the palate, Pinot blanc is a white grape variety born out of a mutation of pink-skinned Pinot gris (which was born out of a mutation of Pinot noir) and is perhaps most associated with the Alsace region of France. The variety is also is quite successful in Germany and Austria, where it is known as Weissburgunder. Although its heritage is Burgundian, today it is rarely found there and instead thrives throughout central Europe, especially in the mountainous Alto Adige region of Italy, where it is called Pinot bianco. Fine examples can also be found in Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Oregon’s Willamette Valley boasts some wonderful examples of Pinot blanc, as do some cooler pockets of California.
In the Glass
Pinot Blanc is typically a full-bodied wine and expresses pleasing aromas of crisp pear, peach, lemon zest, crushed gravel and white flowers. The finest examples can possess a stony minerality and with age can develop intriguing notes of honey, vanilla and almond.
Delicate Pinot Blanc works well with lighter fare such as salads, seafood, chicken or turkey, but is truly at its best with Alsatian pairings like choucrout garnie, onion tarts or the region’s soft cheeses like Munster.
Pinot Blanc’s delicate aromatics, full body, and moderate acidity make it a great alternative to the world’s most popular white wine. Anyone experiencing Chardonnay fatigue and looking to try something new would benefit from giving Pinot blanc a try.