Famed for its rich red varieties, Bordeaux has in fact been producing white wines for years and until 1970, white wine production was even higher than that of reds!
Today, 1,800 resolute producers, spread across the entire region, continue this white-producing tradition. Using eight white grape varieties, most frequently Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, they are helping to put white Bordeaux on the map.
With England mid-heatwave and us always on the search for a great white wine to serve at dinner parties, we’ve decided to take a look at the white wines on offer from the Bordeaux region, from dry whites to sparkling options and sweet whites. Read on to find out more and where you can sip the varieties in London this summer and beyond.
Dry white Bordeaux wines
Influenced by their surroundings, Bordeaux’s dry whites reflect the nature of their terroirs. They offer lively and natural fruity characteristics, enhanced by the freshness of the Atlantic Ocean and westerly winds.
The main grape varieties include Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle, and they offer up two main styles of the overall taste. Fruity dry whites, particularly those from the Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux and Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux AOCs are often more fresh, vibrant and bring explosive aromas. Aged for 1-2 years, expect hints of lemon, grapefruit and acacia. These wines pair beautifully with white meats, salads, shellfish, grilled fish and cheeses, making them the perfect option to serve alfresco.
The other style of dry white Bordeaux is structured and generous, characters that can be found in wines from the Pessac-Léognan or Graves AOCs. These lively wines are aged for 2+ years, with their citrussy and boxwood aromas develop over time. Pair these with fish in sauces, hard cheeses, white meats or as an apéritif. They are great alongside vegetable soups when the weather is a bit cooler!
Crémants de Bordeaux
Those partial to a sparkling number should befriend Crémant de Bordeaux this summer. Despite having grown increasingly more popular in recent years, the production of sparkling wines in the region is actually a century-old tradition.
The result? Delicate bubbles bursting with freshness and making for a great option for toasting celebrations, enjoying during the festive season and at drinks parties with canapés.
There are two types of Crémant de Bordeaux – white and rosé. The white offers up fine bubbles with citrus and white flower aromas, while the rosé is lively with subtle notes of red fruit.
The result? Delicate bubbles bursting with freshness and a great option for celebrations, the festive season and canapé parties.
Sweet white Bordeaux wines
If you’re looking for a sweeter option, Bordeaux offers a great selection. Coming from a terroir that’s bathed in a booming microenvironment, the sweet wines are produced using predominantly Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle grapes.
The secret to creating a sweeter white wine is the development of a microscopic fungus, botrytis cinerea, which roots into over-ripened grapes, and thus creating sweeter fruit. It’s a longer harvest, with winegrowers only using the most affected and highest quality grapes. There are around 10 AOCs in Bordeaux producing sweet white wines.
Why not surprise your guests and add some edge to your summer dishes by serving AOC Sainte-Croix-du-Mont or Loupiac? They are a fabulous match for spicy dishes. And you can also use a sweet white Bordeaux wine in a summer cocktail with fruity flavours, zesty citrus and loaded with ice.
Here’s where you can discover Bordeaux Whites this summer…
Available at all Vagabond bars, the team has added a variety of Bordeaux white wines to its menu this summer, including dry whites, sweet wines and a sparkling – don’t miss out!
Available until 7th August
Throughout August, Humble Grape will be adding five new Bordeaux whites to its menus, as well as hosting a series of winemaker tastings and masterclasses so you can learn more about the region and their vibrant white offerings.
Available throughout August
Davy’s Wine Merchants
Over at Davy’s Wine Merchants, they will be adding a new crémant to their offering and will be showcasing its extensive Bordeaux whites range from 19th August to 2nd October.
Available 29th August to 2nd October
Find out more about the participating bars here