What is Blanc de Noirs?
18th May 2022
Quite simply, it means the white from blacks as translated to English from how it is written (in French) and this is in reference to grape juice, ie the white juice that is extracted from black grapes. In many wines within the sparkling sector, even though the colour will be clear, part or if not all of the grape juice will have come from black grapes.
Within wine production, the pressing of the grapes is of course an important part of the process, when white (yellow/green) or black grapes (red/blue/black) will produce white grape juice (must) upon an initial gentle crush. The colouration of wines, ie rosé to red, is achieved during maceration (skin contact during fermentation) – Here the black grape skin will, depending on the length of time, release pigments into the juice so the (deep red to black) colouring of the skins releases into the white grape juice to eventually turn it pink to dark red / near black in some cases.
If you held a bunch of green grapes in your hand and crushed them, you would get white grape juice. Repeat this process with red / black grapes and you will get the same. This only changes when you crush the red / black grapes, collect the juice in a container and then place the crushed red / black grapes within – Check back a few hours / days later and you might notice a small discolouration.
Blanc de Noir – White from Black (single black grape) or Blanc de Noirs – White from blacks (variety of black grapes)
So when we see a Blanc de Noirs written on a label we can assume it has been made 100% of black grapes and that the wine inside the bottle will be white. Many Champagne labels will be made from two of the most popular grapes in the region, Pinot Noir & Meunier, both being back so this style is relatively popular – In England also, we see many Blanc de Noirs Labels. This style of sparkling wine is though available across the globe and where black grapes are produced, if the wine is a pure Blanc de Noirs is, of course, down to the winemaker if any addition to the blend is from white grapes then he/she can no longer use this term.
What does Blanc de Noir(s) taste like?
For this we chose two award winning Blanc de Noir labels from our collection – One of these being from Japan, the other from Slovenia:
Château Lumière – Blanc de Noirs (2021 Gold Medal Winner in Forget Me Not category) – Tasting notes: “Golden fruits, honey suckle, touch of banana, soft citrus, yellow floral on the floral. Dry fruity flavours. Initially a soft red berry expression with a yellow floral and citrus length.”
Misal – Blanc de Noirs (2021 Silver Medal Winner in Sea Breeze category) – Tasting notes: “Bruised green and dark green apple flesh aromas. Dry, good levels of acidity initially. Relaxes to apple flesh, dark berry, alcohol sponge cake, minerals in the palate.“
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.