What is a Blanc de Blancs?
5th April 2020
One of the most popular phrases that you will see on a bottle of wine is the term ‘Blanc de Blancs’. A question that I usually get asked by those starting off in enjoying wine or those simply wishing to understand a bit more about what is inside the bottle is ‘what exactly does the term Blanc de Blancs mean’?
A bottle of wine, still or sparkling, will in most occasions have a selection of important information for buyers on the label, this will vary from country to country and depends on how strict their rules are. Frequently the following facts will be found on a bottle of wine:
- Brand Name
- Producers’ Name and Location/Address
- Net contents
- Alcohol Level
- Grape Variety / Wine Style (Dessert, Sparkling, Table Wine etc)
What is a Blanc de Blancs?
The term is French with the translation being ‘White from Whites‘. This term is in relation to the grapes used to make the wine in question and that they are in fact only white grapes.
Interestingly and understandably, the term ‘Blanc de Noirs‘ is a similar one used in the wine industry that translates as ‘White of Blacks‘ – Again the term refers to the grapes used to make the wine and this time it is only black grapes used.
For Sparkling Wine these two terms are very common to see on bottles and styles used by many producers in many different countries. In most cases, the ‘Blanc de Blancs’ wine will use 100% Chardonnay Grapes whereas the ‘Blanc de Noirs’ will be 100% from Pinot Noir grapes. The ‘Blanc’ element of each term refers to the juice extracted from the grape which is ‘White’ – Yes, red and black grapes have white grape juice in them and it is only a lengthened contact with the skin that produces the colour rosé / red.
Both terms refer to just the colour of grape used and are used to cover a wide range of grapes used within wine making, though as mentioned 100% Chardonnay and 100% Pinot Noir are the most common examples. Champagne uses these terms most famously with many fine labels being ‘Blanc de Blancs‘ and ‘Blanc de Noirs‘.
English Sparkling Wine – Blanc de Blancs
There are well over 500 vineyards across the British Isles and around 5,000 acres of planted vines. An increasing trend of new and existing wineries improving their winemaking skills is seeing English Sparkling Wines making themselves a global reputation as one of the best countries for fizz. With many awards under their belt collectively and an international client database already, the good word about English Sparkling Wines is expanding and rightly so.
One such winery that will be familiar to many wine lovers and certainly one to discover for those looking to explore English Sparkling Wine is The Bolney Estate. Based in West Sussex, on the edge of the South Downs, The Bolney Wine Estate is open for consumer visits to their ‘vineyard experience‘, all of which include a guided tour of their vineyards and their state of the art winery.
We also decided to pair the Blanc de Blancs with a dish of Pork Fillet Medallions with fried carrots in order to bring out even more splendid flavours from the wine.
The Bolney Wine Estate Blanc de Blancs Brut 2016: “A savoury cream with green apples on the nose. A slight toasty baked green apple flavour with orchard fruits and green grass / hay. Elegant and fine, clean and refreshing.”
Paired with Pork Fillet Medallions (British Outdoor Bred from Tesco Finest) with fried carrots and potato: “The wine easily cleanses the palate though delicately so and not too aggressively so to leave the pleasing savoury flavours from the dish to delight you. The Pairing brings out a wonderful burst of golden fruits from the Blanc de Blancs then relaxes down into savoury flavours from the medallions. The carrots and wine also work extremely well side by side to delight the palate with a moreish sweetness.”
Interested in finding out more about English Sparkling Wines?
A close friend of mine and author in the wine industry, Stewart Wilde, recently sent me a copy of his latest book to review entitled ‘ Vineyards of England and Wales – Sparkling Wine’.
This delightful hand sized useful guide style booklet contains a tour around the sparkling wine vineyards of England and Wales with a factual description of each including the teams, soil types, wines produced, vineyard size and visiting information. If you want to be introduced to the amazing world of bubbly from England and Wales then be sure to look out for this book (Find it on Amazon). Also, look out for Stewart at the Glass of Bubbly Show each year who can be seen sampling some of the best bubbly from around the world.
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.