Pinot Blanc is a mutation of Pinot Gris which is actually a mutation of Pinot Noir, making it part of an ancient, genetically unstable, family of Pinot grapes. This white grape is used in the production of still and sparkling wines around the world. Even though they are not at all related, Pinot Blanc vines and grapes so resemble that of Chardonnay that even many experts have trouble distinguishing between the two. This grapes name varies in different regions. In Italy and Spain it is known as Pinot Bianco, Hungary call it Feher Burgundi, and in Austria it is bottled under the name Weissburgunder or Klevner. Some producers in Alsace, France also refer to this grape as Klevner.
Pinot Blanc is typically high in acid and low in aromatic intensity, which makes it desirable as a sparkling wine component. The aroma of pinot blanc tends to be very light, non-distinct, and nearly neutral. This helps to increase the aroma influence of terroir and production methods. Pinot Blanc wines are balanced with high acid and can be full-bodied.
Pinot Blanc is part of the ancient Pinot grape family which originated in the first century A.D, if not earlier. Pinot Blanc was initially grown in Burgundy, France. For many years, there was no distinction made between it and Chardonnay, due to their very similar look. However some winemakers new the difference and consistently produced Pinot Blanc wines in a dependable and easy to like fashion. It was later proved that Pinot Blanc was not related to Chardonnay. Like Pinot Gris, it turned out to be an ancient mutation of Pinot Noir.
Plantings of Pinot Blanc have shrunk significantly in France since the 1700s. As of 2000 there was only 3200 acres planted throughout the country. The grape was once added to even the finest Burgundy reds, but this practice fell out of favor. Small amounts are grown in the Champagne region where it can still be used in the Champagne blend. Alsace has the largest plantings of this grape in France, here it is used to produce still wines, and is the most common variety used for the sparkling wine Cremant d'Alsace.
In Germany, where this grape is known as Weissburgunder, there were 8,630 acres of Pinot blanc in 2006. Wines produced using Pinot Blanc grapes in Germany can be both dry and sweet. The most powerful versions are usually made in Palatinate and Baden.
There are extensive plantings of Pinot Blanc in Italy, where the grape is known as Pinot Bianco. Many winemakers there produce a relatively neutral-tasting, crisp, high-acid Pinot Blanc intended for early consumption. Due to its high acid and low aroma, high production clones of pinot blanc are also used here for blending with muscat in Spumante.
Wines produced can be affected by terroir and production methods and can be anything from bone dry to Icewine sweet. I guess you could say the “typical” Pinot Blanc's tend to be high in acidity and low in aromatic intensity, often displaying stoney mineral notes of flint, and slate with flavors and aromas of green apple, pear and melon. They are best paired with fish, poultry and other white meats.