Sounds wrong doesn't it? But some of the worlds most famous wines are white wines made from red grapes.....Champagne! In the Champagne region the three varieties used are Chardonnay (white), Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (both red). Generally Champagne will be made from a blend of all 3 but sometimes you will see on the label, Blanc de Noir, which means it's a white wine made solely from the red varieties.
So, how do we do it? If you've ever peeled a grape you'll have seen that all the colour in red grapes is found in the skin, the pulp where the juice is found is clear in both white and red grapes. When we are making a red wine we ferment the juice and the skins together to extract colour, tannins and flavour out of the skin. If we get rid of the skins straight away the juice that comes out when pressed is almost clear, but we do need to be very gentle!
In Champagne they whole bunch pick and then very gently press the whole bunches to prevent the skins being pressed too hard. The grape varieties can make a difference too. Both Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are thin skinned grapes, which means they are lighter in colour than some other red grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon.
You don't often see white wines made from red grapes outside of Champagne, but there are a few interesting still wines made this way for you to try.
Here in New Zealand, Wooing Tree Vineyard in Central Otago makes the Blondie, a white made from 100% Pinot Noir. They use the same method of gentle whole bunch press used in Champagne and the resulting wine is light, crisp and refreshing, with beautiful citrus, white peach and pear flavours. Perfect for matching up with seafood, I love it with lightly seared scallops, delicious!