Wine Of The Week: Tendril Pretender White Pinot Noir

Outstanding white pinot noir (yes, you read that right) from one of Oregon’s top winemakers.

Tendril Wines

The Yamhill-Carlton AVA is somewhat of a mecca for pinot noir, with dozens of wineries making their own unique expressions of the heartbreak grape. Depending on style, terroir and weather, styles can range from delicate and silky to more powerful and full of depth to crisp white and beautifully aromatic. Wait, what?

Have you ever tasted a white pinot noir? They’re captivating, offering up everything from staunch salinity and bright notes of pear to rich nuttiness and tones of earthy forest floor. While the style of white pinot noir has been practiced across Italy (pinot nero bianco) and Germany (blanc de noir spatburgunder) for centuries, you could call Oregon’s Tony Rynders somewhat of the king of the new school of the style. In 2004, he released a pinot noir made without the skins at Domaine Serene.

Now, he’s refining white pinot noir at Tendril Wines. Vintages will come with variations in the style, though all will have wild depth and nerdy, buy-a-whole-case characteristics. Off the top, it’s hard to characterize as anything but itself, pulling cues from the region’s adept handling of both chardonnay and pinot noir. 2018’s vintage was lush and aromatic, with notes of fuzzy peach and slight honeysuckle. $68

(Have you seen white pinot noir popping up more frequently? Recently, west coast winemakers have been leaning on the style to salvage red grapes kissed by smoke in the wake of early-season wildfires. Beauty, out of necessity.)

Outside of the Pretender, Rynder’s wines are exemplary, ranging from his more jovial Child’s Play label to the hyper-precise single vineyard pinot noirs.

Kate Dingwall is a WSET-trained sommelier and seasoned spirits writer. Her work has appeared in Wine Enthusiast, Eater,, and Food & Wine, and she pours wine at one of Canada’s top restaurants.