Bordeaux is famous for its superb red wines, however, it also produces stunning dry white wines and we will be showcasing them online and in our wine bars throughout September.
Bordeaux is one of the world’s largest wine regions with 117,500 hectares under vines, primarily producing red wines which account for 90 percent of the total. Lesser known, though equally stunning, are the long-lived dry white wines.
The White Grapes Of Bordeaux
White Bordeaux is usually a blend of two to three grape varieties, but up to seven grapes can be used. The main three are Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle, alongside Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Merlot Blanc and Sauvignon Gris which can also be added to the blend. Blending is used to achieve complex flavours.
Sauvignon Blanc has its origins in the Loire Valley and is the most widely planted white grape in Bordeaux. Crisp and lively it has a high acidity with fresh flavours of gooseberry, lemon, and grapefruit.
Semillon is the soul of white Bordeaux. It takes on wonderful honey flavours and a creamy, waxy texture with age. You will find a high percentage of Semillon in some of Bordeaux’s most legendary white wines. It brings weight and depth and allows them to age elegantly. It is also the main grape used for sweet white wines in Sauternes and Barsac.
Muscadelle is a minor grape in Bordeaux but adds flowery and grapey notes to the blend. It is not related to Muscat.
The Key Areas in Bordeaux For White Wines
Located in the south west of France, next to the Atlantic Ocean, Bordeaux is crossed by two rivers: the Dordogne and the Garonne. The Left Bank is famous for its reds in the Médoc. Further south, in Graves, both reds and superb whites are produced.
The Right Bank is also well-known for its red wines: Pomerol and Saint Emilion. Between the two rivers lies Entre-Deux-Mers, where white, red, rosé and sparkling wines are produced. The south of Bordeaux is famous for its sweet white wine made in Barsac and Sauternes.
Counting some of Bordeaux’s finest vineyards, this is the only prestigious area where both red and white are made by most Chateaux. Usually, all white Graves are a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. The finest wines of the area come from Pessac-Leognan AOC. Medium to full-bodied they reveal intense and complex aromas with notes of minerals.
Bordeaux AOC and Bordeaux Supérieur AOC
These two appellations produce half of all red, rosé, and white wines made in Bordeaux. Sauvignon Blanc is the main grape used, producing wines with a refreshing palate and notes of gooseberry and lemon. Bordeaux AOC is a vast appellation. Bordeaux Supérieur AOC makes slightly more concentrated wines.
Entre-Deux-Mers means ‘between two seas’. The region is between the Dordogne and Garonne tributaries of the Gironde Estuary. The appellation Entre-Deux-Mers applies to dry white wines only. Red wine is also produced but labelled as Bordeaux AOC or Bordeaux Superieur AOC. The wines from this large region are light, fresh, zesty, with hints of spice and flower and are mainly made with Sauvignon Blanc, sometimes with the addition of Semillon and Muscadelle.
White Bordeaux To Suit All Budgets
2019 Château Reynier Blanc £11.95
On the slopes of Branne in Entre-Deux-Mers, about 10km south of St. Emilion, Château Reynier is owned and managed by oenologist Marc Lurton. Combining traditional and modern techniques, the wines are excellent value quality Bordeaux.
Aromas of citrus, grapefruit and hints of tropical fruits. Delicate on the palate with some texture from the Semillon well balanced with a refreshing acidity.
2019 Château Argadens Blanc £12.50
Château Argadens has been owned by the Sichel family since 2002. They are also part owners of Château Palmer, amongst many other estates. Their aim is to make the wine a benchmark within the Bordeaux Superieur appellation. Grapes are sourced from 45-hectare parcels of clay-limestone soil, from a single plot in Entre-Deux-Mers.
Fresh and intense nose of mango and pineapple, enhanced by hints of oak and vanilla. Well-balanced by a delicate and lingering freshness and a silky texture.
2019 G de Guiraud Blanc Sec £17.95
Château Guiraud is one of the few properties to be within the village of Sauternes. The only other being its illustrious neighbour Château Yquem. Alongside sweet wines they also produce an organic dry white.
Fermented in barrel and aged for seven months on its lees, this wine has great texture and depth. Crisp gooseberries, honey and just a touch of blossom
2020 Château George 7 Blanc, Fronsac £19.95
Ch. George 7 is amongst a group of high-performers in Fronsac, hopefully shaping what’s to come from this oft-overlooked region.
Elegant nose with aromas of fresh stone fruits, citrus and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied on the palate and a nice texture from the oak and lees ageing and a refreshing acidity.
2016 L’Abeille de Fieuzal Blanc, 2nd Wine of Château de Fieuzal Pessac-Léognan £29.50
Château de Fieuzal is located in Pessac-Léognan and owned by Brenda and Lochlann Quinn. These two Irish wine lovers have hired Stephen Carrier as winemaker and consultant Hubert de Bouärd, owner of Château Angélus. Working with organic principles, their goal is to continue making technical improvements to winemaking and vine growing, while retaining the essence of the wine of Graves.
Their second wine has intense aromas of apple, citrus and pear and a touch of minerality. Medium bodied and refreshing with a great length.
2011 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, Pessac-Léognan £79.00
A family domaine, owned and managed by Olivier Bernard. The last thirty years have been about constant reinvestment in all aspects of the Chateau, vineyards and Cellars, with profound success.
The whites made here, often compared in quality to Grand Cru Burgundy, are also known for their ageing potential but they are also delicious whilst young displaying abundant flavours of peaches, apricots and lychees, with citrus notes guaranteeing freshness.
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