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 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.
Frequent 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.
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.