White Cabernet Sauvigon: 2012 Gustavshof – Blanc de Noir – Qualitätswein Rheinhessen

White Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a headline that might be a bit confusing because we all know that Cabernet Sauvignon is a red grape. However, German winery Gustavshof has produced a white Cabernet Sauvignon. How’s that possible? Keep reading and you’ll find out.

Cabernet Sauvignon grapesCabernet Sauvignon is actually a crossing between Cabernet Franc (red) and Sauvignon Blanc (white). The grape’s skin is red but the pulp of Cabernet Sauvignon is white. In order to produce white Cabernet Sauvignon, the winery has to remove the skin first before the grapes are pressed. Therefore the major difference between producing a red and a white Cabernet Sauvignon is that the red wine is pressed with skin and the white one without.

Why would a winery produce white Cabernet Sauvignon? This is a good question and I don’t really have a straight forward answer for it. On the one hand it would make more sense to use healthy red grapes to produce red wine but on the other hand the taste of white wines from red grapes can be quite interesting. Just think about Champagne for example. The very best Pinot Nero grapes are often part of a Champagne blend. French wineries have therefore a long tradition of using red grapes for their white wines.

Germany does not have this tradition and the first Blanc de Noir (that is the name for white wines that are produced from red grapes) were produced in the ’80s – mostly from unhealthy grapes that were not fit for red wine production. German Blanc de Noir therefore has a rather bad reputation but over the last decade many small wineries changed their policy regarding Blanc de Noir and now use healthy grapes. Many customers and moreover German wine critics are still skeptical towards German Blanc de Noir. I don’t know why but Blanc de Noir is definitely better than its reputation.

Gustavshof

2012 Gustvashof - Blanc de Noi - Qualitätswein RheinhessenFrequent readers of Vino in Love will remember that I recently reviewed the 2012 Gustavshof Riesling Feinherb (Follow this link for my tasting notes). The Riesling from Gustavshof impressed me so much that it has become one of my favorite summer wines and best of all it’s very affordable. I like the Riesling so much that I decided to try the Blanc de Noir from Gustavshof, too. Gustavshof is a 4th generation Demeter-certified family owned winery from Heppenheim. Heppenheim is a small town just outside of Mainz, the capital-city of Rhineland-Palatinate..

Tasting Notes 2012 Gustavshof ‘Blanc de Noir’

The Blanc de Noir from Gustavshof is classified as Qualitätswein Rheinhessen. Rheinhessen is the largest German wine appellation. The German wine classification system is, in my opinion, quite complicated. At least way more complicated than the already complicated Italian wine classification system. So I won’t go into details but I would say that Qualitätswein (full name is Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete) is the equivalent of an Italian IGT.

Gustavshof’s Blanc de Noir is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Cortis. Cabernet Cortis is a relatively new red grape that was developed by the German Viticulture Institute in 1982. Cabernet Cortis is a crossing between Cabernet Sauvignon and Solaris. ‘Blanc de Noir’ aged in stainless steel tanks after a short fermentation. In the glass, the wine has a pale yellow color with green hues. The bouquet consists of  lime, stone, green bell pepper and apple. On the palate, ‘Blanc de Noir’ was crisp and dry. The acidity was too strong for my personal taste. High minerality and notes of apple. The finish was of medium length. 12% was the label listed alcohol by volume.

3 / 5 stars      

Parting Words

All in all, Gustavshof’s ‘Blanc de Noir’ is a decent white wine. It’s recommended but I like their Riesling Feinherb a lot more which is reflecting in my rating. However, this is one of the better Blanc de Noir wines that I’ve tried. As far as I know this wine is not available only in Germany. Sorry about that but I can’t do anything about that. A bottle of ‘Blanc de Noir’ retails in Munich for around 9€. A good wine for that price.

What is your opinion on Blanc de Noir  wines? Have you tried any before? Let me know in the comment section below.

19 comments on “White Cabernet Sauvigon: 2012 Gustavshof – Blanc de Noir – Qualitätswein Rheinhessen”

  1. Sean P. Reply

    Never tried one of these blanc de noir wines. Just doesn’t sound right to produce white wine with red grapes..
    But definitley an interesting post. Learned lots of new stuff!

  2. Pingback: White Cabernet Sauvignon - Vino in Love | Itali...

  3. TracyLeeKarner Reply

    Haven’t tried blanc de noir, but I would, given the right opportunity and if the price was right. Does it’s lack of reputation effect the price (in other words, is it a bargain wine at the moment?) I’m imagining the high minerality and green pepper (sounds interesting!) might make a fine pairing with clam-shack style fried seafood, which is the most popular summer fare here in Rhode Island/Cape Cod.

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Tracy,
      Thanks for stopping by!
      I forgot to mention the price in the post. I’ve added it now. A bottle of Gustavshof Blanc de Noir retails in Munich for a little bit under 9€. That’s a good price for this wine. The next time I drink it I will prepare some fried seafood with it. Very much agree with you that fried seafood would pair well with it.

  4. wineking3 wineking3 Reply

    I have tried a white Sangiovese two weeks ago and it was awful. The wine so acid that I couldn’t even finish my first glass.
    This Blanc de Noirs sounds way better. Might find something similar from a different producer here. Any recommendations?

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Wineking,
      I haven’t tried many other blanc de noir wines so I can’t recommend any other. Sorry to hear that your blanc de noir Sangiovese wasn’t to your liking!

  5. foodwine88 Reply

    What’s the price of this wine? Is it cheap because of its low reputation?
    Since I travel to different parts of Europe every other month I might be able to try it somewhere 🙂

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Foodwine,
      I just added the info to the post. The wine retails in Munich for under 9€. I’d say that’s a good QPR.
      Let me know how you like the wine if you try it.

  6. winetalks winetalks Reply

    White Pinot Noir is pretty good – especially from Oregon. You should definitely try some.
    I never saw white Cabernet Sauvignon anywhere and haven’t heard about Cabernet Cortis before. Gusthofavs Blanc de Noirs sounds alright but to be honest I don’t think I would like it a lot. Green bell pepper is not to my liking..

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Frank,
      I will see if I find Pinot Noir Blanc de Noirs from Oregon. Just like it’s hard to find many European wines in the States it’s hard to find a good selection of American wine in Europe.

  7. Andy Andy Reply

    First time that I read about a German wine on your blog. I always thought it’s Italian only! But of course that’s good so I can learn a little bit more about German wine, too 🙂

  8. Marco van Puff Reply

    Good post, Julian.
    Unfortunately the wine is not available in the States – but you’ve already mentioned that in your post. Someone could really make a business by importing all those wines to the US..

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Marco,
      Thank you for your kind words.
      I agree that someone could make a good business importing less-known European wines to the States but then on the other hand it’s very unlikely that someone will do that. There are so many restrictions for importing wine to the States as far as I know.

  9. hannah-theis hannah-theis Reply

    Here are my 2 cents on blanc de noir: Red grapes are meant for red wine production – at least that’s the traditional way and I’m a traditionalist when it comes to wine. Even in the case that white wine from red grapes would taste good I would still favor a white wine from white grapes.

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Hannah,
      I understand your point but you should remember, that lots of Champagne is and has been produced for centuries with Pinot Noir grapes. This means that there is actually quite a tradition to produce white wine with red grapes.

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