Now believed to be related to Pinot Noir and not Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc was once extensively referred to as the poor man's Chardonnay because of the two grapes similar characteristics. Presently, Pinot Blanc is used in Champagne, Burgundy, Alsace, Germany, Italy, and California, where it can make terrific wines. When well made, Pinot Blanc is intense, concentrated and complex, with ripe pear, spice, citrus, and honey notes. It can age well, but is best early on while its fruit shines through. In Austria, the Pinot Blanc grape is known locally as Weissburgunder.
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