Pinot Blanc. (Please follow link...a great read on the subtleties of this great varietal!)
Makes me think of beauty. Most Pinot Blanc in the world is found in the Alsace or to the East and a great deal of it makes it's way into Cremant d'Alsace. (Cremant is the term for French sparkling wine from regions other than Champagne).
..and that makes sense. A great deal of Champagne is "Blanc de Noir" using Pinot Noir grapes...and being a genetic mutation (beware-- geek read, but pretty cool stuff on the GretL gene) of Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc serves similarly where it's allowed to be planted, unlike Champagne.
While most Pinot Blanc fruit in the US is grown in California, it's still a relatively unknown varietal and the number of acres to which it is planted is quite small.
Dry Creek Valley. It's one of my go to places for wines, and while it's not common there, Pinot Blanc is grown by my friends at Michel-Schlumberger Wine Estate. Winemaker Mike Brunson does an excellent job and many of their wines are quite excellent and recommended, however, the single standout is the "La Bise" Pinot Blanc.
It's fermented cool in 100% stainless but don't think of that steeley, cold, green, icy taste and texture. It's restrained, calm, poised but fun and pleasing. Also to note, it's only 12.4% ABV (for the 2010 vintage.) Lower ABV wines are making their way back now, finally. Your palate is thanking you, and Mike Brunson, for this!
For a warm summer afternoon, a haute dinner with halibut, John Dory as well as chicken, or a pleasant, clean glass while you're waiting for that choco-lava cake you're going to split with someone, try a bit of Pinot Blanc and if you're in the Dry Creek Valley, head to Michel-Schlumberger for a Friday evening with music or harvest winemaker lunches. You can find the info on their WWW site (link above).
(P.S.) The SF Gate posted a piece this weekend on Michel Schlumberger. Please take a read there, too!
2010 Michel-Schlumberger "La Bise" Pinot Blanc