Over the weekend, I tasted two samples of the same wine — Lieb Family Cellars 2008 Pinot Blanc ($20). One sample was from a standard 750ml bottle. The other was from a 375ml bottle.
Many wine lovers already know that wine in smaller bottles ages more quickly. Partly, that's because a larger bottle has a smaller ratio of air to wine, but it's also because a smaller bottle is more susceptible to temperature changes.
I knew all of that going into this little experiment, but I wasn't expecting such a different in a wine so relatively young. If I remember correctly, the 375s were also bottled a few months earlier than the 750s, so there's that influence as well.
I'm basing my official review on the 750ml bottle, because that's what Lieb uses the most and most readers will drink this wine from that bottle size. After the review, I'll discuss the differences between bottles.
Pinot blanc, especially in its youth, often strikes me as pinot blank, rather than blanc, but not so here where fresh pear and apple aromas reach up out of the glass and get your attention with a little melon, wild flower and subtle nutty character.
Fresh, snappy acidity lifts Gala apple and more pear flavors on a medium-bodied palate, with nuances of honey and nuts lurking in the background.
The finish lingers nicely with a saline note and a squirt of citrus — making it both thirst quenching and appetite whetting. This is a wine that local seafood longs for.
From the 375ml bottle, the nose is much nuttier, showing significantly more honeyed character. The same is true on the palate, which is a bit creamier but still shows good balancing acidity.
The fruit flavors are less fresh and less pronounced from the smaller bottle as well, with some dried apricot joining the party too. — Lenn Thompson
Producer: Lieb Family Cellars
AVA: North Fork of Long Island