What is Blanc de Blanc? And how is it different to Blanc de Noirs?
You must have seen this before.. Does it ring a bell?
On Champagne labels, or maybe on other sparkling wines.
Do you know what it means?
It’s one of those things most people have seen or heard, again and again yet only very few know what it means.
Blanc de Blanc in French literally means white from white. While Blanc de Noirs means white from black.
Does this help?
Ok, Blanc de Blanc means it’s a white wine made from white grapes.
Duhhh you must be thinking! Of course white wine is made from white grapes!
Well.. not always!
The term originates in Champagne, but is now used in most sparkling wines and even for a few still wines.
Champagne is produced with 3 principal grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Most Champagnes are going to be a blend of these grape varieties and you won’t see any mention of neither Blanc de Blanc nor Blanc de Noir.
However, many house will have cuvées (wines), with these mentions.
You see, both Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are black grape varieties. Which means they would normally be used to produce still red wines.
But, they can also be used to produce white wine.
Without going into the depths of wine making, the flesh and the juice of the grapes used to produce wine is white!
Yes! The juice of Merlot is white, and so is Syrah!
What makes the colour of a wine red is leaving the skins of the berries, which are black (or red) in contact with the white juice. Slowly the skins are going to release colour and turn the white juice to pink and then red.
This means that if you don’t leave the skins in contact with the juice, you’re going to get white wine.
And that’s what a Blanc de Noirs is: A white wine made from black grape varieties.
In Champagne, it therefore describes a wine made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Elsewhere those grape varieties can be pretty much any red grape variety.
Conversely as you’ve probably figured out, Blanc de Blanc is made solely from white grape varieties.
In Champagne, of course is that grape Chardonnay.
So why are those mentions added to the label?
Well, this is simply to give you an idea of the style of the Champagne.
Typically, Blanc de Blanc Champagnes are generally going to be crisper, more mineral. While the Blanc de Noirs Champagnes are going to be more powerful and round.
Generally, the freshness of Blanc de Blanc Champagnes makes them perfect aperitif wines, or to be enjoyed alongside delicate dishes such as seafood.
Blanc de Noirs, being more powerful, are more suited to be enjoyed alongside dishes such as warm canapés, and even alongside main courses such as fish and poultry.
I hope this post will help next time you’re choosing either a Champagne or a Sparkling wine.