Palatine Champagne – Celebrated Blanc de Noir Wines

Blanc de Noir wines have met a great success in the Palatinate in the last years. White-pressed Pinot Noir [in German: Spätburgunder] is now served at most wineries. Offered as a summer wine it is challenging Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and other white wines.

Route du Champagne - Reims (Fotolia)
Route du Champagne – Reims (Fotolia)

The term Blanc de Noir [in English: White from black] is French and comes from a well-known wine region, which is centered by the town of Reims. Since several centuries the winemakers from there have developed a technique to press the red-colored grapes to create a prestigious bubbly, commonly called Champagne. Timing is everything. While the inside of the grapes only consists of white pulp, it is the red shell which contains the red colorants. So the winemakers press the grapes just at the same day of the harvest to avoid any coloring of the pulp. Through this procedure a light and fresh white wine with some spicy flavors is created. As wine lovers may know, red wine generally has a lower acidity as white wines. This makes the Blanc de Noir the perfect summer wine.

RPortugieser Weißherbst in the traditional Dubbeglas
Portugieser Weißherbst in the traditional Dubbeglas

In Germany, the general expression for Blanc de Noir is “Weißherbst”, which means white-pressed wine. If the term “Blanc de Noir” is used, often the label also mentions the specific wine site where the wine is harvested from. The idea of both terms is the same, so no need to plunge into the complex German wine law. Today, most wineries prefer the term Blanc de Noir – eventually for marketing reasons.

According to weinkenner.de there has been times when Rosé wines or Blanc de Noir were produced from low quality red grapes. The high quality grapes were reserved for the production of red wines. The remaining grapes or the juice was turned into Rosé wine or Blanc de Noirs. Those low quality grapes – mostly in the overripe state or rotten – did seriously damage the wine. As a countermeasure coal pieces were added to absorb all harmful substances. Afterwards, the coal pieces were filtered. However, as the coal also absorbs the grape pulp, the wine quality is strongly impacted. As a result of this practice, there were only mediocre Blanc de Noir produced in the Palatinate.

Today, time has changed. Many wineries have decided to make high quality Blanc de Noir wines. Which means they use high quality grapes and apply new techniques such as the malolactic fermentation. One of the latest wine tasting organized by the wine magazine VINUM decorated two Palatine wines among 88 Blanc de Noir. Among them a wine from the Sektgut Immengarten Estate located in the village of Maikammer and one from the winery Corbet situated in the village of Diedesfeld, nearby the town of Neustadt. The VINUM editor Benjamin Herzog was very pleased by the wines presented and describe them as the ideal summer wines.

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