Wait, what? White Pinot Noir? But Pinot Noir is red wine….
England is one of the coolest of the ‘cool climate viticultural regions’ and also probably the wettest – our summers are notoriously unpredictable and unreliable, testing resolve and optimism. There are few places in the world where wine growing is more marginal! This presents Albourne Estate with unique challenges each season. While they learn from the established wine-growing regions, developing locally relevant solutions and methods are essential in order to create a unique and sympathetic ‘English’ style. They have deliberately restricted their plantings to just over 10 hectares (26 acres) of vines with the aim of capturing the essence of variety, vintage and vineyard, which requires an enlightened approach and meticulous attention to detail at every step of the process – the small scale of their business allows them to be fastidious and meticulous with attention to detail.
This white Pinot is made from red Pinot Noir grapes which were hand picked and whole-bunch pressed so that the juice bears only the merest hint of colour. All the colour in red grapes is within the skin which is extracted during red wine making by crushing the grapes and retaining the juice in contact with the skins during fermentation. To create a ‘white’ juice, the skin contact is kept minimal as the juice is removed from the press straight away with fermentation happening in the absence of skins. This is the same method used in ‘champagne’ production which traditionally contains Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier juice with no colour. All the grapes are whole bunch pressed under inert conditions and slowly and gently fermented in stainless still tanks in order to preserve the aroma profile.