Tuesday, March 8, 2011

(Re-?)Discovering White Bordeaux

Bordeaux is a wine-making region in France that is probably familiar even to neophyte Wineaux. However, the WHITE wines made there have long struggled for recognition due to the avalanche of renowned Bordeaux reds and white wines from other, "more familiar" regions of the country.

Arguably, the best whites in Bordeaux come from the region of Pessac-Léognan, located just outside the town of Bordeaux, north of the Graves region (of which it once was a part,) and south of the Médoc.

The grapes used here are primarily Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Although Sauvignon Blanc thrives in other parts of the world, it originated in France. In the Minx's opinion, in this case it is under-appreciated, darn it!

Ultimately, the region, its history, the soil (thick gravel and stone over a layer of sand and clay,) and the use of Sémillon in blending all combine to provide a luscious, approachable, invigorating, food-friendly wine.

Do yourselves a favor and make the effort to seek out white Bordeaux - you will not be disappointed! The following are tasting notes from a number of 2008 releases with approximate retail prices.

2008 Château Bouscaut Blanc: Flint and terroir on the nose, great citrus of tangerine and lime. ~$45

2008 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc: Taffy on the nose, good mid-palate feel, nicely acidic. ~$90

2008 Château de Fieuzal Blanc: Light nose of perfumey florals, great structure, elegant style. ~$62

2008 Château Haut-Bergey Blanc: Grassy nose, warm peaches and orange blossom, really unique, good acidity. ~$44

2008 Château Latour-Martillac Blanc: Great tropical fruit on the nose, sweet peaches, light acidity. ~$35

2008 Château Malartic-Lagravière Blanc: Nice grassy elements, good acidity, integrated citrus throughout. ~$80

2008 Château Olivier Blanc: Nose of tropical fruits, good viscosity, prominent melon, light acidity. ~$32

2008 Château Pape Clément Blanc: Great nose! Florals, abundant fruit, and grassy notes. Lightish acidity. Fabulous balance. ~$200

2008 Château Smith Haut-Lafitte Blanc: Nose of straw and grass, nice spice mid-palate, great length. ~$90

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