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THE WHITE WINE YOU'VE IGNORED FOR FAR TOO LONG - MW


People often ask me to direct them to a great Bordeaux wine, but when they hear this particular answer, they are often confused. Bordeaux grape wines do not produce white wine, only red! they often cried. However, this statement cannot be true. Because, deeply breathing the Bordeaux terroir, a history and a tradition that have lived for centuries, his heart still beats in the vineyards.

Yes, Bordeaux is home to some of the best reds in the world, but it is also home to some of the best dry white wines on the planet - and it's time to spot them.

It all started in the 17th century when white wines were made in Bordeaux and sent to the Netherlands where they would be transformed into spirits. We all know that Sauvignon Blanc is the most popular and most cultivated white grape in the world, but did you know that its origin comes from Bordeaux? Yes, you do it now. You may also be interested to know that Sauvignon Blanc is actually also older than Cabernet Sauvignon.


As production methods continued to improve for centuries, little of this juice was used for bulk exports to produce other products and, in the 1860s, before the phylloxera crisis (You know, this virus has wiped out most European vineyards), most wineries produce many varieties of white grapes.
In fact, many of them are "field mixes", which basically means that they don't know what type of grape it is, but they taste very good and that's all that matters .

Like most continents, their wine empire is reborn after the plague, rebounding, not only a larger grape variety, but also stronger and more resistant vines.
A century later, in the 1950s, Bordeaux white seemed to occur completely, with an astonishing 60% of all vineyards hosting white.

But the trend came and went and, thanks to an economic crisis accompanied by terrible frosts in 1956, the Bordelaise began to uproot these vines, replacing them with redder grape varieties that could better cope with the time. a little more and a little more pocket.
Since then, there has been a steady decline and, to date, only 9% of the vines are white. Although your first impression may be that it is a negative thing, it is not. A few remaining producers were forced to put quality above quantity, with over 71% of white vineyards made up of small plots of around 4.6 hectares. This usually means a lot of work on each vineyard and less machinery. Like most things made by hand, a lot of love and affection goes into the process.

What does it all look like in a bottle? About 62 million bottles a year, of which about 22 million are exported and seven million of them are shipped to the United States and the United Kingdom, the two largest export markets. Although it looks like a lot of bottles on the surface, compare it to 900 million (or so) bottles of Bordeaux each year and you begin to see that it is not so much.

Here, a little breakdown of the grape varieties and what it means:
Sauvignon Blanc - 54%
Semillon - 31 percent
Muscadelle - 7 percent
Sauvignon Gris - 4 percent
Others (Colombia, Ugni Blanc, Merlot Blanc, Mauzac) - 4%
Sauvignon Blanc was the clear rule in which it was not surprising, but it was Sémillon and Muscadelle which represented 38% of what allowed Bordeaux to create beautiful taste profiles and personality among whites. .

How to ask, to create a rich and rich white wine like a Burgundy, as enthusiastic as an Italian Pinot Grigio or as fresh and tropical as the Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand? For me, it all comes from the mixture of something that Bordelaise knows a thing or two. I mean, they've been doing it for over a thousand years, so I think they've perfected the art - in fact, they're really the creators of a modern mix.

For those who love Burgundy - Rich and creamy
Arguably the most famous name for this dry white style is Pessac-Léognan. These wines are mainly made from Semillon grapes, giving them an undeniably rich and generous structure. A hug around the tongue of texture and glowing with the rich flavor of butter and grilled fruit like the most famous Burgundy whites in the world, but they are only a fraction of the price. You can also file them for a few years if you want to see how they change over time.

These wines are perfect for those who prefer a rich style and oak but do not want to spend a lot of money. In addition to Pessac-Léognan, you can also discover the wines of Graves, another name for producing extraordinary wines, similar to the one above. Basically, if the idea of ​​a wine tastes like apple and pear, lemon butter, crème brûlée, and peach toffee seems like something you like - it's time to check it out!

Tip: Make sure there is a higher amount of Semillon in the wine before buying if you want this type. These regions also produce Sauvignon Blanc wines like the style below.

For lovers of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio from New Zealand
Another place to look is Entre Deux Mers, where they produce excellent wines and crunchy fruit to taste right now. Then, mainly Sauvignon Blanc, with a small mixture of other grapes, they are focused on fruit, spicy and filled with tropical and green fruits. Perfect for those who prefer nothing more than to sit down at the end of the day with something reminiscent of a Sauv Blanc or a Pinot Grigio from New Zealand. They are also the cheapest among many.

Tip - How do I know if I like these wines?

The most important thing to note here is the grape variety. If a wine is controlled by Sémillon, it will have great Burgundian characteristics. If it is mainly Sauvignon Blanc that leads it, it will be more reminiscent of your favorite SB New Zealand SB or your Italian Pinot Grigio.

I have listed some of my personal suggestions below, but always be sure to read the labels and tasting notes to confirm that it is a wine you enjoy based on the description of the tasting. Likewise, download something like Vivino to guide you on this journey of discovery and see what others in
Rich & Creamy
Refreshing and Tropical
Château Carbonnieux Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2016 - £15,  $37
Château Latour-Martillac Blanc 2016 - £29$38
Château Gazin Rocquencourt Pessac-Léognan Blanc - £23$30
Clos Floridène Graves Blanc 2015 - £23$30
Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan Blanc 2016 - £100$150
Château Smith Haut-Lafitte Les Hauts De Smith Pessac-Leognan Blanc - £33$43
Château Latour-Martillac Pessac-Leognan Blanc 2016 - £26$47
Château de Fontenille Entre-Deux-Mers Blanc 2017 - £13$13
Château Lestrille Entre-Deux-Mers Blanc 2017/18 - £15$14
Chateau Turcaud Entre-Deux-Mers Blanc 2018 - £10$13
Chateau La Gravière Entre-Deux-Mers Blanc 2018 - £13$14
Chateau Ferrande Graves Blanc 2013 - $17 
Château Ducasse Blanc, Graves 2017 - $17 
(I try wherever possible to find vintages which are available, but don’t panic if you can’t find the exact one, most wineries bring out new wines every year, so just buy the next available vintage or a little older (for rich and creamy) if it’s not out of your price range!)
As I wrap up this piece, I hope you’ve been able to learn a little something about the world of white Bordeaux and I hope I may have inspired you to seek out a bottle or two the next time you’re looking to broaden your vino horizons.
For a wine shrouded in so much history, there is a deep quality, not to mention amazing story, of which you now know. Whether dinner party conversation, impressing that date who likes wine or simply having a glass of something fabulous - white Bordeaux is a true contender and worthy of both your time and money.
MW

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