Think of Bordeaux and you’re transported to the rolling vineyards of South West France, bright blue skies, sand coloured farmhouses and white wine. Wait, did you say white wine?
There’s a common misconception that the wine region of Bordeaux only produces red wine. Which of course it does and they’re delicious, but what everyone needs to know about Bordeaux is that the white wines are equally brilliant. In fact, until 1970 the region produced more white than red and today over 1,800 producers continue the tradition of white Bordeaux.
As the seasons change and summer abruptly gives way to autumn we instinctively find ourselves reaching for bottles of red to enjoy by the fireside. But there are plenty of reasons to be a little less predictable, and most of them come from the wide array of French winemakers producing dry and aromatic white Bordeaux.
Bordeaux dry whites reflect their environment and the original nature of their terroirs.
Bordeaux dry whites reflect their environment and the original nature of their terroirs...
Enjoying the freshness blown in from the Atlantic by strong westerly winds, giving the wines an unexpected but welcome fruitiness and liveliness, Bordeaux dry whites are also incredibly varied, with each appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) planted with a wide variety of grapes (although Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon account for a large proportion) across many differing Bordeaux terroirs which offer an exceptional range of styles from crisp and lively to fruity and aromatic.
But though steeped in tradition, it’s worth pointing out that the very first Sauvignon cuttings left for California from Bordeaux, the region is increasingly known for its new generation white wines (including still wines and sparkling crémants).
With buttery and toasty notes, it's the perfect accompaniment to tapas, seafood, white meat dishes or red fruit puddings...
Crémants may more generally be associated with the Loire or Burgundy, but Bordeaux Crémants are every bit their equal.
Crémant de Bordeaux blanc is noted for its fine bubbles with aromas of citrus fruit and white flowers like acacia. With buttery and toasty notes, it’s the perfect accompaniment to tapas, seafood, white meat dishes or red fruit puddings.
And the trends extend beyond crémants, with unusual single varietals and rarer grape varieties like Sauvignon Gris coming to the fore. Likewise effects of climate change are being tackled with the introduction of new grape varieties.
Likewise effects of climate change are being tackled with the introduction of new grape varieties...
Sustainability is high on the agenda in Bordeaux, with many wines now 100% plant-based (even the fining agents) or organic for example.
The bottles themselves are also changing, with interesting and unusual bottle or label designs underscoring the region’s embrace of modernity.
Which, of course, begs the question: where can I drink White Bordeaux? Well, of course, you can head to South Western France and experience it in its natural habitat, or visit your local wine merchant or supermarket who will undoubtedly stock generous numbers of bottles.
But to really discover White Bordeaux head to one of the following restaurants, Coq d’Argent, South Place Hotel (home to Handbook favourite Angler), Aster, New Street Wine or Le Pont de La Tour, or indeed to any of the 13 Davy’s Wine Bars, all of which are running special white Bordeaux menus (we’re particularly partial to a lively glass of white from Entre-Deux-Mers alongside a French charcuterie board at Aster!) and tastings, for the rest of September and the first week of October.
Learn everything there is to know about the wines and the region, paired perfectly with food! It’ll be Bordeauxlicious!
Find out more about Bordeaux wines by following them on social media @bordeauxwinesuk