Wine Review: Gutzler 2008 Blanc de Noir (White Pinot Noir)

guzler white pinot A white Pinot Noir? A red wine posing as a white wine. And from Germany no less, which is not prime pinot country. Poseurs are universally reviled. No one likes pretense, especially today in our no privacy, lay-it-out-for-everyone-to-see world. Authenticity, or at least its simulacrum, rules. So no white pinots, real pinots are red.

But remember. Pinot Noir in all its pale glory is one of the principle grape varieties in Champagne, to which it lends body, acidity, and aromatics. There is nothing inauthentic about that.

No. The issue is not authenticity.The real question is whether making a pinot with no skin maceration is worth doing. Does this contribute much to the wine world?

The nose opens up with lemon/lime aromas accompanied by grassy overtones much like a sauvignon blanc but not as aromatic—quite restrained. A bed of apple, pear, and hints of apricot are detectable if you work at it. As the wine warms, however, it becomes distinctly herbal with a blast of juniper to hold your attention. Synthetically on the dull side, but diachronically engaging. In other words, it evolves. That’s good.

On the palate there is an initial impression of creaminess and body that is quickly moved off-stage by robust acidity and steely minerality. The overall impression is austere, despite the initial sensation of cream, with the prickly sensations of acidity propelling the medium length finish. There is that evolution again. That’s good. And unlike many high acid wines this does not turn excessively sour on the palate.

The austerity and restraint are not surprising. The grapes come from Rhinehessen, cool weather Reisling and Müller-Thurgau country, along the banks of the less celebrated part of the Rhine, and not known for quality Pinot Noir which needs a bit more warmth to fully develop the aromas. But this is good, clean winemaking from a member of the VDP—a private association of German winemakers committed to quality.

So is this wine worth making? Yes, if you are a wine geek who enjoys odd expressions of varietals and yes if you want to analyze the components of champagne. And yes if you are serving a simple white fish drizzled with lemon. Refreshing, fresh, and intellectually interesting. But powerful or hedonistic it is not.

Good: Evolution on nose and palate

Bad: Austere and restrained

Innovation: Unusual expression of Pinot Noir, a novelty

12.5% alcohol

Price: About $17

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