I’ve no doubt shared my love-hate (anti-love?) relationship with Sauvignon Blanc. Give me mineral and stone and I’m in love. Tropical fruit characteristics? Bring it. But you certainly miss me with the really green, grassy ones. I’ve tried to appreciate them, but its just not my thing. Lucky for me that there are no shortage of Sauvignon Blancs that I enjoy. And that includes Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux. After all, the variety originated in France. Yes, its spiritual home is France’s Loire Valley where it takes on the aforementioned mineral and stone characteristics. But if you’re sleeping on Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux, you are certainly missing out.
This month, the French #Winophiles group of writers are exploring Sauvignon Blanc – but only those that hail from France. We love you Chile and USA, but this time, its all about France.
A Little Background
I mean why not Bordeaux Blanc? The reds get all the press (I certainly collect my share of First Growths) but the dry white wines of the region are absolutely worth seeking out.
By the Numbers:
- 12 AOCs for dry whites in Bordeaux
- 8 main grape varieties. Some iconic (like Sauvignon Blanc) and some unexpected (we see you Alvarinho and Liliorila)
- 2 main styles of dry white Bordeaux: Lively & Fruity and Structured & Generous. Try them both!
- 75% of planted vineyards in Bordeaux have environmental certifications with producers upholding a collective commitment to sustainable winemaking. Biodiversity, bee farming, agroforestry and more are being embraced. See my article on sustainable wine regions for more.
- 1,800 women and men who are currently carrying on the tradition of producing dry white wines in Bordeaux, mostly on small properties passed on over generations.
What is Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux Like?
While the wines of the Loire are known for their bracing acidity, Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux tends to see some oak aging (but usually more subtle than New World versions) resulting in wines that are a bit fuller bodied and richer. Of course, there are some that are lean, fresh, and crisp having seen little to no oak. In Bordeaux, Sauvignon Blanc is often blended with Sémillon which takes the edge off the acidity in the wine. So you’re left with a wonderful balance of acidity and creaminess. And apparently there are folks in the US that appreciate Bordeaux Blanc, since it is the #1 market for Bordeaux dry white wines. Who knew?!
When looking for a Bordeaux Blanc, wines from Pessac-Léognan and Graves are always a sure bet. However, don’t overlook the wines from the Bordeaux and Entre-Deux-Mers appellations as these wines are often a bargain and delicious to boot. And of course, don’t forget about those sweet white Bordeaux wines which are so delicious to pair. Of course in these wines, Semillon tends to be the star of the show, with Sauvignon Blanc playing more of a supporting role. But to be sure, dry white AOC Bordeaux wines are also showing up in areas historically known for their sweet wines and even in the Médoc, which of course is known for its stellar red wines.
Enjoying Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux
Right away, one of the greatest enjoyments of these wines is how ridiculously affordable they are. So many great ones can be had for around $15-20. Many of these wines are great on their own and are easy-drinking – almost too much! But just as many will enjoy a spot on the dinner table.
Château Suau is a blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon with fruit sourced from the Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux appellation. Peach, apricot, and orange citrus notes means this one can easily be enjoyed on its own. But we loved having it for dinner with chicken lettuce wraps. The umami and sweetness of the chicken and its sauce were great with the ripe fruit and aromatic nature of the wine.
Typically found for less than $20 it was the #36 on the Top 100 Best Buy 2020 list from Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
Switching gears, Château Ducasse is a blend of 60% Sémillon, 35% Sauvignon Blanc and a touch of Muscadelle and screams summer sipper. And while Sémillon leads the way, I always appreciate the lift, structure, and acidity provided by Sauvignon Blanc in blends such as this. Soft and round with stone fruit and honeysuckle with some lively acidity. Château Ducasse is made from 35 year old vines in the Barsac municipality. Since Sémillon is more prominent, we wanted to complement (as opposed to contrast which we sometimes do) the characteristics of the food. Enter grilled flatbread with figs, prosciutto and balsamic.
And just to let you in on a great pairing tip – Bordeaux Blanc is my go-to for gumbo. Seriously!
Cheers to Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux! And be sure to check out what Sauvignon Blanc wines the other French #Winophiles are sipping on.
- Camilla is making cool “Vietnamese Summer Rolls with a Sauvignon Blanc from the Pays de la Loire” at Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Wendy is whipping up a “Shrimp Bisque and a Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux” at A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Robin is pouring a special “Sauvignon Blanc from the small hamlet of Chavignol in Sancerre” at Crushed Grape Chronicles
- Jane is touring and “Tasting Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé” at Always Ravenous
- Jeff is is preparing a special “Surprise! Sauvignon Blanc from Bourgogne” at Food Wine Click!
- Gwendolyn is having a feast of “Sauvignon Blanc from here and there for Summer Pairs” at Wine Predator
- Katrina is sharing a glass of “Let’s Give Some Love to French Sauvignon Blanc… From Bordeaux” at The Corkscrew Concierge
- Deanna is frying “Sole Meuniere Paired with Sancerre” at Wineivore