I like Pinot Blanc. It's is that simple. As our regular readers know I am always in danger of rambling on for too long, so I will keep this short. I really like Pinot Blanc. In Germany it is called Weißer Burgunder or Weißburgunder ("white Burgundy") and one of the more popular white grape variety (although nowhere as common as Riesling or Müller-Thurgau). What I find particularly attractive about Weißburgunder is how it manages to be a very enjoyable drink but also has a more serious side, either in a leaner, smoky and edgy style or, especially when aged in oak barrels, a more complex and substantial one.
Julian has recently been somewhat unhappy with a Pinot Blanc from one of the top producers in Baden, so I wonder how this more inexpensive specimen from less prestigious Rheinhessen will do.
As I promised to keep things simpler this time I can say it does quite well, especially considering the price. The suggested retail price in the UK is around £8.50, which I find is about the lower limit for finding decent German wines, although I still believe it should be possible to put something good out for around £6 - but taxes and import duties make this really hard. In Germany you will even find good, basic wines in litre bottles for around €5; but I digress.
Runkel's Weißburgunder features a herbal spicy nose, think menthol and sage plus herbal tea infusion, and lovely melon. And then there is an interesting aroma that is charming, smoothing the herbs and fresh sharpness with something best described as vanilla custard with some flowery perfume and a touch of wax around the edges (do aromas have edges? this one does). Fresh from the bottle and the cold fridge the Pinot is more on the quaffable side, with a little time and warming up the more serious side came through, but still very drinkable. Light, lean and fresh the wine has some juicy moments that reveal the residual sugar of around 6g/l, but overall the impression is dry, which is helped by around 5g/l acidity. Melon, apricot and herbs feature, and there is a lively finish that reminded me of a herb candy, think Ricola herbal sweets - at first full in the mouth and a bit like candy,then turning towards fresh and sharper with an almost crunchy texture.
A likeable Pinot Blanc that delivers what you can reasonably expect in this price range and perhaps a bit more; maybe slightly more suitable for summer or spring (think asparagus), but then I find autumn is what you make of it. Oh, and a little fun fact to end with: while the winemaker is young enough to make me feel old, his cellars are not - the Runkel family cellars in Bechtheim date back to at least 1559.