White wine in Bordeaux? Surely that’s an oxymoron! But, I’m here to tell you that it is not a contradiction. Yes, many folks may know that Bordeaux produces white sweet wines (Sauternes), but that’s not what I’m talking about. White dry Bordeaux is one of the most spectacular white wines I know. Maybe I’m drawn to it because it’s unique? That could be a possibility, but I think it’s a real star, period.
Let’s start with the grapes. White dry Bordeaux is a combination of two grapes of which I’m particularly fond: Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Most wine aficionados know Sauv Blanc as this aromatic varietal is quite popular at the moment in many wine-centric countries of the world. Depending on where it is grown, the varietal can offer different flavor profiles. Cooler climate renditions, for example, serve up a palate of lemon and other citrus fruits along with green apples. Warmer weather Sauv Blancs move to the tropical side of the scale with papaya, melon and even pineapple.
Semillon, on the other hand, is not a grape that many wine-lovers know….unless they are into sweet wine. Once considered the most widely planted white wine grape in the world, Semillon has fallen out of style in many countries. Still popular as a varietal in France and Australia, it is rarely seen in the US. It’s such a pity as the Semillon grape makes a full-bodied wine with enticing flavors (think pears and papayas), however, it’s Semillon’s voluptuous texture that grabs me.
Dry white Bordeaux is a blended wine with both Sauv Blanc and Semillon represented. Very few wine shops carry it in the US, but don’t let that deter you as it is available online for in-the-know lovers of wine. The good news is that because it is unknown, there is not much of a demand, hence, prices are extremely reasonable.
Check out these great unsung heroes:
~ Chateau Haut–Mayne $15---a definite best buy
~ Chateau Haut Bertinerie $25
~ Chateau Chantegrive Oiseaux $25
~ Chateau La Louviere: $45
Very few Bordeaux chateaux produce white wine. But, this wine is worth seeking-out!