10 White Bordeaux Under $20

FILED UNDER: Buying & Choosing Wine, Know Your Bordeaux, White Wine

toptenwines

Last June, we unveiled our Today’s Bordeaux selection, an annual list of the top 100 value Bordeaux wines between $10 and $55 dollars. The list, determined by an esteemed jury of wine professionals and educators, represents the range of affordable Bordeaux wines available in the US. For some, a hundred wines may seem a daunting task to navigate. (Tip: Check out our wine selector guide for the wine that’s fit for your occasion!) So, we’re narrowing down the field with a series of wine lists fit for different palates and pocketbooks. 

For summer, we’ve zero-ed in on ten white Bordeaux wines under $20 dollars and most widely distributed across the US. These dry whites are the perfect combination of taste and value. Whether you’re stocking up for a party or looking for an easy, breezy white to sip under a summer sunset, ask for one of these white Bordeaux at your local wine shop!

Bordeaux2014_13-saintGlinglin-IMG_8804Bordeaux2014_17-Bonnet-IMG_8848Chateau Bonnet 2013, Entre-Deux-Mers

50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon, 10% Muscadelle

Price: $11

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bordeaux2014_5-PetitChapeau-IMG_8958Petit Chapeau 2013, Bordeaux

52% Sauvignon Blanc, 38% Sémillon, 10% Muscadelle

Price: $14

 

 

 

 

 

Bordeaux2014_18_PetitFrelon-IMG_8766Château Petit Freylon 2013, Bordeaux

 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Price: $12

 

 

 

 

 

   

Bordeaux2014_19-LaFleurdAmelie-IMG_8797La Fleur d’Amelie 2012, Bordeaux

30% Sémillon, 70% Sauvignon Blanc 

Price: $15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bordeaux2014_1_Timberlay-IMG_8897 Château Timberlay 2012, Bordeaux

60% Sauvignon Blanc,  40% Sémillon

Price: $17

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bordeaux2014_3-Verdillac-IMG_8919 Verdillac 2013, Bordeaux

100% Sauvignon Blanc

Price: $10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bordeaux2014_6-Chaubinet-IMG_8949Château Chaubinet 2013, Bordeaux

100% Sauvignon Blanc

Price: $12.99

 

 

 

 

 

Bordeaux2014_14-DeSours-IMG_8824Château de Sours 2012, Bordeaux

90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Sémillon

Price: $18

 

 

 

 

 

Bordeaux2014_13-saintGlinglin-IMG_8804Saint-Glinglin 2013, Bordeaux

100% Sauvignon Blanc

Price: $15.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

chateau-tassin-101106748 Château Tassin 2013, Bordeaux

85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Sémillon

Price: $39 (4 Bottles In A Box)

Sauvignon, Semillon And Salad, Oh My!

FILED UNDER: Food and Wine Recipes, Know Your Bordeaux, White Wine

Come summer time there’s simply nothing as satisfying as a fresh salad paired with a chilled, crisp white Bordeaux. It’s a great season for unexpected fruits and vegetables like strawberries and snap peas to make their appearance amongst the greens. White Bordeaux blends with Sauvignon and Semillon provide the perfect compliment to such dishes with their mix of herbaceous and creamy aromas and textures. 

Below, we’ve rounded up our favorite seasonal salads to pair with a white Bordeaux that will please your palate and your pocket book. 

sugar and snap pea salad

This salad from epicurious.com two of our all time favorite summer vegetables, sugar snap peas and radish. The feta and sumac give it texture and depth of flavor. If you don’t have sumac on hand, dress it with your favorite vinaigrette instead. We suggest pairing with this white Bordeaux from Château de Sours with 90% Sauvignon Blanc. 

Image via Foodess.com

Image via Foodess.com

A simple spinach and strawberry salad is elevated with goat cheese, almond slivers and this unexpected secret ingredient. And, try the Château Chaubinet, a 100% Sauvignon Blanc with crisp, clean flavors that will compliment the creaminess of the goat cheese. 

Image via Bon Appetit

Image via Bon Appetit

Next time you’re firing up the grill, take a chance on this grilled watermelon salad. An unexpected dish that packs a punch! Pair it with a Petit Chapeau, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle that’s easy drinking in nature. 

For more white Bordeaux recs, visit our Today’s Bordeaux 2014 selection and if you have another unexpected salad pairing to suggest, leave it in the comments section below!

Happy Summer!

Navigating The World Of White Bordeaux

FILED UNDER: Appellations, Know Your Bordeaux, White Wine

With the arrival of Summer, many wine drinkers turn to the cooler side of white. Bordeaux may be more famous for its reds, but we love introducing new wine drinkers to the lighter side of Bordeaux - The White Side  - perfect for the warm weather and summer’s lighter meals. And, these wines are affordable and deliciously easy to drink.  Simply put, if you love Sauvignon Blanc, you will adore the crisp whites of Bordeaux.

CarteUltraSimp2012_UK

To start, one key thing to know about White Bordeaux begins with understanding a system called “AOC” or Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée. AOC is a classification used in France to ensure origin and quality of goods such as wine and cheese.

Over the centuries, each unique area of Bordeaux became known for producing a specific style of wine due to the influence of a subregion’s terroir and micro-climate on the grapevines. As some grape varieties fare better in some areas and not as well in others, the AOC system helps to classify the type and taste of wines being produced in a given region and ensures a level of quality and authenticity.

White Bordeaux Labels

Bordeaux has five key AOC appellations for the production of white Bordeaux: Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-MersGravesPessac-Léognan and Cotes de Bordeaux. While each AOC produces its distinct style of white wine, all white Bordeaux is made from some combination of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon – the two key white grape varieties of the region. Below, we help you navigate the AOC of White Bordeaux for your next visit to the wine store. 

Bordeaux AOC: Any white wine from the region of Bordeaux may use this AOC, so long as the vineyard conforms to the regulations. This will be the one most likely found in your local shop, as this AOC produces about 75% of all White Bordeaux wine. These wines are primarily made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, but a small amount of Muscadelle is also used.  They are pale yellow to light gold in color. They have light, zesty aromas of lemon, white fruits and fresh grass. These wines are wonderful easy drinking whites during warmer weather, and pair nicely with light cheeses, salads or fish. Chateau Chaubinet, Chateau Fonfroid, and Chateau Peyruchet are good examples. 

EntreDeuxMers

Entre-Deux-Mers: The area which lies between the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers is called Entre-Deux-Mers.  The literal English translation is “Between Two Seas”, but the original name is believed to be “Entre-Deux-Marées” or “Between Two Tides”. A mix of limestone and clay is the typical soil type where Sauvignon Blanc thrives. There’s also a small amount of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Gris, a rare cousin of Sauvignon Blanc.  This AOC was created originally in the 1930s, but was not very popular until the 1960s when the lively wines of Entre-Deux-Mers, with their elegant balance of crisp fruit and acidity, were discovered and quickly popularized. These refreshing and clean wines pair perfectly with shellfish, charcuterie or cold chicken. Chateau Bonnet and Chateau Sainte Marie are excellent choices.

Graves: The name of this AOC accurately describes the soil conditions found in the region. Can you guess? Gravel. For thousands of years, the Garonne River has washed gravel and stones down from the mountains and deposited them in Graves. This, naturally, gives the wines produced here a unique and distinctive mineral flavor. A slightly warmer climate allows for greater depth and concentration of body in these wines, and some of the best Graves whites can easily age for 5-10 years. Sauvignon and Semillon are both widely grown and used in varying combinations depending on the vineyard. The wines have aromas both floral and fruity, citrus and acacia flower. They are at once fresh, but with a round and plump quality, racy acidity and that unique gravelly, mineral flavor. They like to be paired with bolder fare, such as roast chicken, pork or paté. Chateau Les Clauzots, and Chateau Hauts Selves for example.

pessac leognan

Pessac-Léognan: Originally part of the Graves AOC, Pessac was given it’s own AOC status in 1987 under the leadership of the late André Lurton. This was because of the unique terroir of this region, which produced the most distinguished wines of Graves. It lies on the left bank of the Garonne, immediately south of the city of Bordeaux. It is one of the warmest AOC’s of Bordeaux and the soils here have an especially deep layer of stony gravel, which can be more than ten feet deep in some parts. AOC rules require at least 25% Sauvignon Blanc must be blended with the usually predominant Semillon.  The rich and complex structure of Pessac-Léognan wines are conducive to oak barrel aging and create long lived white wines which age beautifully. They have a rich aroma and flavors of citrus, white peach, spice, mineral and touches of honey.  They pair with a wide range of foods, from seafood, to chicken, pork or veal. Chateau Carbonnieux is a well known and affordable producer of Pessac-Léognan whites. 

Cotes de Bordeaux: Blaye, Bourg, Graves de Vayres, Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux, Saint Macaire. Each is a separate AOC of Cotes de Bordeaux, which beginning in 2009 is required to be labelled: “X, Cotes de Bordeaux” (for example, Blaye, Cotes de Bordeaux).  Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are still the primary components here, however this AOC also uses a little Ugni Blanc, Colombard and Sauvignon Gris. The wines are light, lively, crisp and zesty, and meant to be drunk young and fresh. Lemon and grapefruit citrus tones abound with balanced acids and light, white fruits.  These are picnic, beach, patio or poolside sippers and pair with light dishes of seafood, goat cheese or crudités.

So there you have it! Whatever white wine your palette desires, Bordeaux has an AOC to fit the bill. From a pool side sipper like Cotes de Bordeaux to an elegant accompaniment to an alfresco dinner from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux should be a regular in your white wine repetoire. Discover your future favorites at your next trip to the wine store. Cheers!

This post was brought to you by Austin-based Bordeaux Wine Buff, Rob Moshein aka Austin Wine Guy and professional of 34 vintages. 

13.12.4 Rob Moshein

Rob Moshein has been a Bordeaux Le Wine Buff from the beginning. He “cut his teeth” on some of the great 1st Growth Bordeaux of the 1960s and 70s. More on Rob at austinwineguy.com.

Need A White Bordeaux Refresh?

FILED UNDER: Know Your Bordeaux, White Wine, Wine 101

White Grapes

A toast to the season’s wines: whites from Bordeaux.

Spring beckons with silver-throated birds, heralding the warmer months ahead. Nature’s paintbrush dabs the evening skies with spectacular hues of peach, fuchsia and lavender. Fresh aromas of orange zest figs, pears and baked apples waft through the air… scents and sensations evocative of white wines from Bordeaux.

Perhaps it’s a cue to fill your glass with finesse and character, and sip upon these delicious reflections. Perhaps it’s the call of your wine cooler in quest of a spring renewal. Or perhaps it’s your insatiable curiosity simply looking to be slaked…

Image via WineFolly

Image via WineFolly

Bordeaux whites: Two styles. Many nuances.

Whites from Bordeaux are made in two distinct styles: The dry Bordeaux blanc, which speaks the language of wine with a crisp, wry wit. And the renowned sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac, which seek a more intense relationship with your palate.

Every year, about four million cases of white Bordeaux wine are produced, accounting for about 10% of all Bordeaux wine. Bordeaux’s high-caliber whites are on par with their globally sought-after reds. And, while some of these whites are of legendary repute and age-worthiness, the majority of Bordeaux’s whites bring value synonymous with quality to your wineglass. These wines are approachable, accessible – and ready to drink when you are.

Is your palate all set for a tryst with Bordeaux whites? An insight into the grapes behind the wines makes your journey of taste more expansive…  

The grapes behind the stars.

One of the four primary grapes in the AOC-labeled white wines of Bordeaux is Sauvignon Blanc, which exudes a crisp, lively character redolent of apples, melons, and peppers. But just when you think you’re well acquainted with this grape, its versatility can make you do a double take. Often referred to as the “chameleon of grapes,” Sauvignon Blanc when blended with Sémillon makes wines that are opulent, honeyed and creamy with complex notes of fig, pear and tobacco, and a silky mouth feel. (Much like a soprano’s voice with a rich, velvety timbre.) The other two grape varieties are the intensely floral Muscadelle, and Ugni Blanc (a primary grape in Cognac) with a fruity, aromatic palate.

The wine and the wallet.

While finesse and age-worthiness are to be much celebrated, it’s heartening to discover the lighter, more affordable side to the Bordeaux white. Whether you seek crisp acidity, creamy richness, a clean palate, or an elegant nose, you’ll find a distinct echo of this quality terroir well within reach. Bordeaux whites are so versatile, they make for an easier, more relaxed conversation between the wine and the wallet. 

Meet the Châteaux.

CarteUltraSimp2012_UK

The white wines of Pessac-Léognan assume a variety of styles – from light and fruit-forward to floral, spicy and mineral. While several chateaux in this region are known to craft white Bordeaux wines with flair, those from Château Haut Brion are considered the most prized, showing sublime character, concentration and complexity.

Nestled between the Dordogne and the Garonne rivers, Entre-Deux-Mers showcases a diversity of wine styles – from the dry whites of Sainte-Foy and Graves de Vayres, to the white dessert wines of Cadillac and Loupiac. The predominant grape in this region is Sauvignon Blanc, with Sémillon and Muscadelle adding structure and depth. Highly regarded for their white wines are Château Bonnet and Château Turcaud. Other top estates are Domaine de Courteillac, Château Grée-Laroque, and Château Rauzan Despagne.

While many of these estates bring high-quality offerings that are accessible to the everyday budget, some other stunning values that come to mind are Château de l’Emigré, Château Marjosse, and Château Graville-Lacoste, and Château Graves de Liron.

14.4.1 Sauternes

The most celebrated sweet Bordeaux wine known for its stellar vintages hails from Château d’Yquem. The estate is famous for Sauternes, a dessert wine made with grapes affected by an amazing fungus called Botrytis cinerea or “noble rot” – as a result of which the wine shows tremendous aromatic complexity.

Château Climens, Château Coutet, Château Guiraud, and Château Raymond Lafon also produce sweet whites of exceptional quality.

Image via utahcitylinks.com

Image via utahcitylinks.com

Pairing: What sings best with Bordeaux’s whites? 

While goat cheese, wild salmon, oysters, shrimp, and salads can play a duet in the mouth with Sauvignon Blanc, unconventional pairings such as sushi and ceviche can be as delightful as jazz. The whites from Sauternes and Barsac sing romantic interludes with blue cheese, foie gras, roasted white meats, and, of course, fruit-based and exotic chocolate desserts.

Ready to glean the top picks of the season and explore their values? Start browsing now.

 

 

Sauternes As Your Thanksgiving Aperitif

FILED UNDER: Buying & Choosing Wine, Holidays, Know Your Bordeaux, White Wine

13.11.26 Sauternes

Though Sauternes, Bordeaux’s signature sweet white wine, is often described as a dessert wine, it is in fact a perfect complement to certain savory and spicy dishes. For instance, the French regularly pair this golden, sweet wine with distinct ingredients such as foie gras and sharp cheese. Sauternes also makes for a fantastic aperitif and a great way to set the mood for a special occasion. 

aperitif

Kick off your Thanksgiving dinner with a surprising little twist and blow your dinner guests away. Below, find a few tips on how to serve Sauternes as an aperitif. If you don’t already have aperitif size stemware in your collection, this might be a nice excuse to do so. 

If you don’t already have aperitif size stemware in your collection, this might be a nice excuse to do so. 

Chill the Sauternes in advance. It’s best served around 45-50 degrees Farenheit which is about 10 to 15 degrees warmer than your fridge. 

Sauternes is a sipping wine. You don’t need to pour a lot of it, which is why you can often find it in a half bottle size. Consider pouring about half a regular glass worth.

If you really want to tickle the palette, serve a spread of sharp cheese like Roquefort for guests to nibble on as they sip! 

We recommend two Sauternes from this year’s Today’s Bordeaux selection. Find them at your local retailer or simply ask your wine clerk for Sauternes! 

Barton & Guestier Passeport 2010

Château Piada 2006