Bordeaux is famous of the red wines, but there are great white wines in this region. The most common variety for making white wine in Bordeaux is Semillon, about 58%, and others are Sauvignon Blanc, 21%, Muscadelle, 10%, 9% Ugni Blanc, and some Colombard (might has larger plant area in America nowadays).
The total area for those white grapes is about 14584 ha, quite small compare to 82495 ha red grapes (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, etc.) vineyard. However, due to the berry size and the wine making process, the gap between the quantities of red wines and white wines is not so large, 575 million and 139 million, respectively.
In general, the bouquet, fresh fruity, grass, and crisp acidity are contributed by Sauvignon Blanc. The round mouthfeel and delicately scented noses and palates are from Semillon. Muscadelle contributes the low acidity (compare to Sauvignon Blanc) and aromas. Sometimes you can sense the mineral note in Bordeaux white, that usually comes form Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle, just like what we usually sense in Loire Valley white wines.
For most wine consumers, the noble wines from Sauterne and Barsac are the most impressive. But, in fact, the noble wines from these two renowned regions are just a small portion of the whole Bordeaux white wine market. Besides Sauterne and Barsac, you can still find some good noble wines or late harvest wines from Loupiac and Cadillac.
Bordeaux white wines usually have barrel aging, which balance and smooth the strong and sharp noses, such as the eucalyptus, black currant leaves and rot egg, which are usually comes from Sauvignon Blanc. That’s one main reason why Bordeaux white wines are different from Sauvignon Blanc of New Zealand, Chile, and other new world countries. In these new world countries, Sauvignon Blanc wines are seldom aged in barrel, so it’s better to drink them at young age for enjoying the patient fruit, guava, light veg nose and fresh citrus flavored acidity. In contrast, Bordeaux white wines can be kept longer, and it is proved in this wine tasting. In addition, this barrel aging process also adds the cream flavors and chewy mouthfeel in Bordeaux white.
Chateau Berthenon Sauvignon
Medium blonde, light green hue.
Fig, light melon skin, lemon, light nuts, light mango. After breathing, shows sweet flavors of honey and litchi. Pineapple and light cream palate with vegetable and light walnut hint.
Chateau Mayne Pargade 2009
Medium lemon color. Asparagus, eucalyptus, light pineapple, light grapefruit palate. Very dry and high acidity.
De Luze 2007
Medium- blonde, with light green hue.
Flint, baked almond (beneath), citrus and light cream. The flavors and aromas in palate and nose are not complex, but are quite concentrated, especially the flint nose, very attractive.
Graves De Luze 2008
Medium blonde, green hue.
Eucalyptus, light black currant leaves, green onion, grapefruit skin, and pineapple.
Chateau Baret 2004
Medium+ gold. Savory flavors of oxidization. Over ripe peach, watery honey, watery coffee, nuts, old wood case, taro(芋頭).
Chateau Bouscaut Grand Cru Classe de Graves 2004
Medium gold with green hue.
Mineral, pineapple, pistachio nut(開心果), vanilla, hazelnut, savory style.
Chateau de Fieuzal 2007
Medium- blonde with green hue.
Light savory style of pickled fruits and nuts. Flint, gun powder, lime, lemon, very high acidity.
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2004
Very good. Mineral and light ocean coast nose. Grapefruit in nose and palate, and in the crisp acidity. The citrus and mineral palate is well balanced. The light hazelnut and vanilla are great decorations. After 30 mins breathing, ripe patient fruit and light bouquet, make this wine from good to great.
Chateau Carbonnieux 2006
Medium gold with green hue.
Fur wood, light honey (beneath), lemon, light smoky, hazelnut, and pineapple. Palate has light spicy, tropical and citrus fruits, and light vanilla.
Quite a good Bordeaux white, but it’s not so brilliant if comparing with the previous Smith Haut Lafitte and the following Haut-Brion white.
Les Plantiers du Haut-Brion 2006
Medium- blonde, with green hue.
Peach, light mineral, citrus nose of grapefruit, impressively elegant floral nose, light vanilla and mint. Very dry.
At the beginning, this Haut-Brion white is not so charming. However, after 15 minutes breathing, the floral makes me stick around it.
Domaine de la Solitude 1993
This estate is managed by Domaine de Chavelier from 1993. So, this is the first vintage of Olivier Bernard’s management.
Super good. Diluted caramel macchiato, stir fried vegetables (celery), fermented beans (豆豉), creamy popcorn. The caramel nose becomes denser and denser with breathing (just like Werther’s Original caramel candy).