A Whiter Shade of Red

A new style of wine has us color-blind

Aside from its legendary finicky nature and complex aromas and flavors, Pinot Noir is also known for its singular hue.

Don't be shocked then when some of the latest Pinot Noirs from Oregon pour clear.

Though it may seem paradoxical, it's true: The ruby-red fruit can indeed be used for white wine. As part of the process, vintners must carefully press the grapes without allowing any pigment from the red skins to color the juice.

It's a painstaking process, but it's not novel. Champagne, after all, is primarily Pinot Noir. But although Champagne requires tart, under-ripe grapes to achieve its biting acidity and sharp bubbles, this new breed of flat white Noirs is full-bodied and rich, with luscious floral and fruit notes and the nuttiness of barrel age.

Because these white Pinot Noirs are produced in limited amounts, we're recommending two: The heady Anne Amie Vineyards "Prismé" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Blanc ($45 for 750 ml) and the spicy Erath "Le Jour Magique" Willamette Valley White Pinot Noir ($55 for 750 ml).

Glad we could clear things up.