Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc: Differences Explained

Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc: Differences Explained

One of the most popular white grapes, Chardonnay originated from the Burgundy region of France and so did Pinot Blanc. (The latter, however, has found its new home in Alsace, planted widely in the region.) Although many experts find great similarities between the two, there are various characteristics that set Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc apart. […]

One of the most popular white grapes, Chardonnay originated from the Burgundy region of France and so did Pinot Blanc. (The latter, however, has found its new home in Alsace, planted widely in the region.) Although many experts find great similarities between the two, there are various characteristics that set Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc apart. Read on to find out.

Grapes
Chardonnay, an early-ripening variety, takes a golden-green colour upon maturation. On the other hand, Pinot Blanc grape generally attains a beautiful grass green colour with good acidity.

Production Across the Globe
The former has gained more popularity across the globe with the finest examples coming from the Burgundy region of France and California. Also, countries like Australia, Italy, New Zealand and South Africa are producing quality Chardonnay wines. Its fame owes to the adaptable and flexible nature, which makes this variety a choice of many winemakers.
On the other hand, the less-popular Pinot Blanc is widely grown in the Alsace wine region and also parts of Italy, Germany and Austria. It’s also harvested in Australia and NZ but on a rather small scale.

Characteristics
Chardonnay is like a winemaker’s blank canvas that can be produced in various styles. While oak-aging results in complex aromas & flavours, MLF adds buttery notes to the drink. For this reason, the grape is often dubbed as the plastic grape variety or winemaker’s wine. Said to have a neutral flavour otherwise, it may reveal tropical fruits, stonefruit, citrus and apples. 
Like Chard, Pinot Blanc allows a winemaker to play around, resulting in distinct characteristics depending on the style. However, the varietal may reveal a medium- to full-body with good acidity and flavours of apples and almonds.

Oak Influence
Chardonnay wines are often associated with buttery and complex flavours. These are a result of MLF and oak aging, which is quite unusual for white wine. Pinot Blanc, another white varietal, like others is not generally oak-aged, however, it has the potential to. This is what makes experts claim similarities between the two.

Hope this read would have helped you understand the two grape varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, better. Do share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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