Is it common to blend Chardonnay and Pinot Noir into a still “white” wine?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is it common to blend Chardonnay and Pinot Noir into a still “white” wine?

—Jonathan, U.K.

Dear Jonathan,

No, that would be unusual. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (along with Pinot Meunier) are the three main grapes used in Champagne production. So while Pinot Noir is regularly blended with Chardonnay in sparkling wines, I don’t know of any examples in still wines (but I have heard of “white” Pinot Noir made in a rosé style).

In general, it’s pretty rare to see Pinot Noirs blended with any other grapes—not just Chardonnay—in still wines. Sometimes I hear of a touch of a heavier grape like Syrah blended in with Pinot Noir to give Pinot more intensity. But Pinot has a very distinctive texture and is admired for showing off its terroir, and it is also considered one of the most finicky and expensive grapes to grow. Blending in other grapes doesn’t help its elegant profile or show off its sense of place.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny Chardonnay Pinot Noir

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