After some enjoyable samples from Planet Bordeaux, care of Balzac Communications, when we had the opportunity to get some more Bordeaux samples to participate in a twitter tasting last Friday, we were all in. Just in time for the hot VA weather we’re back in the middle of, we were tasting 4 whites and rosés. While I love a cool day so that I can drink the red wines I love, this time of year definitely has me looking to these more translucent wines, and I was happy to see what value Bordeaux AOC wines had to offer.
The tasting began with the Dourthe Grand Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc 2010. I’m not used to a Bordeaux Blanc being a single varietal wine – not that I’ve had many – so this was a bit of a surprise. If I had to guess, this wine was definitely made for an American market, but I have no problem with that. It was a real winner for me, and I was happy to have repeated tasting both the night of the tasting and the next day. This wine retails for $12 and seemed like a great value. I noted a boxwood (cat pee) and citrus note and tone of lime and grapefruit on the palate along with a hint of tangerine. There were also some green ans boxwood notes on the palate behind all that fruit. I love this type of wine, so it was totally working for me. As the wine warmed a bit, the mineral elements became more noticable. I loved the acid here and was a bit sad to move on to the next wine.
After trying the Château La Freynelle Blanc 2010, however, I didn’t feel so bad. This blend of 50% sauv blanc, 30% semmillon, and 20% muscadelle (thanks for the century club grape) was apparently a bit more typically French (according to my fellow twitter tasters) and offered some really enjoyable complexity that would likely have benefited from a great food pairing. This wine retails for $13 and had a screw cap (I don’t expect this with French wines, but I can’t complain about the easy access). Initially, I noted a grassy nose with light hints of boxwood and a slightly weightier mouthfeel than I found with the sauv blanc. Overall there was less fruit here, but there was still some nice acid – unfortunately, as east coast tasters, we’d already had dinner, so we weren’t experimenting with food pairings. Initially I thought there might be some lime notes; as the wine warmed, I notes melon and peach, a hint of floral, and a slight touch of hay on the finish. While this is not a type of wine I have a lot of experience with, it’s definitely one that shows I need to experiment with more Bordeaux Blanc blends!
The third wine of the night, the Château Ballan-Larquette Rosé 2009, was the only one that wasn’t working for me. This is a blend of cab sauv, merlot, and cab franc that reatils for approximately $16. On the nose, I noted tomato plants and strawberry. While these are spring farmer’s market notes, I don’t particularly want to be reminded of tomato plants while sipping. I also found it to have a surprisingly weighty mouthfeel (not good or bad – just surprising) than I expected. On the palate, I continued to get that tomato note along with strawberry and some lemon on the finish. This was not my wine, so I happily moved on.
The final wine of the evening was the Château Fontenille 2010 Clairet, a 100% cab franc wine retailing for $14. This was my first ever offical Clairet, a light red often served chilled, although I have had some wines made it a similar style form VA. My fellow tasters informed me that Clairets are hard to find in the US, and I think this is a real shame since this is a great warm weather wine for red wine drinkers like me. The wine offered a rich berry nose and lots of red cherry and strawberry flavors with a hint of white pepper with a bit of oak that was most noticeable when the wine had a greater chill on it.
All things considered, this was a winner of a night, and we feel fortunate to have been included in this tasting. We’re definitely going to start looking into more Bordeaux Blanc from our local independent wine stores – great flavors and great value. Can you ask for more? ….and if you see any clairets, we expect to hear about them.
The A Taste of Another Planet by Swirl, Sip, Snark, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.