Scottie Gregory explores 4 quality white Bordeaux wines that pair easily with a range of dishes and offer fabulous value for money. Even with white wines, the art of the blend in Bordeaux comes into play and here we see Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Semillon, Grenache Blanc, and Rolle (Vermentino) in various compositions. Enjoy!
Chateau Argadens Bordeaux Blanc
Known as Salle d’Argadens until 2002 when Sichel acquired it. Sichel set out to make it a Bordeaux Blanc that stood out from the crowd and this wine does just that.
Made from 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillon grapes.
Once they have reached optimum maturity, the grapes are harvested by machine.
The Semillon grapes are pressed immediately, whereas the Sauvignon is vatted and undergoes pre-fermentation maceration, under carbon dioxide gas to protect the must from oxidation. The Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are mixed, fined and bottled in the first months of the following year.
This is a full-bodied wine and pale yellow in colour, clear and bright.
This was a wine that I shared with friends and the verdict was that it displayed apricot, grapefruit and lime on the nose, with a hint of nutmeg and white blossom. On the palate as well as all of those flavours, we could detect lemon and tropical fruits. It was a subtly balanced wine with a long finish. We drank it with spicey quinoa cakes with a garlicky sweet pepper sauce which it matched well.
I think it would go well with sushi, but also tuna wrapped in pancetta and sautéed or a smoked trout mousse. It would have enhanced the creamy chicken dish we had for the main course but by then bottle had been drained!
I think that it would also have matched some hard cheeses such as Sussex Charmer (think parmesan mixed with cheddar) or Gruyere or Old Winchester.
UK retailer: Tanners £13.50
Château de Seuil Graves Blanc 2018, Graves
The Château Grand Seuil is made of 50% Sauvignon Blanc ,40% Rolle (Vermentino)and 10% Grenache Blanc grapes that are grown on pebbly clay/ limestone, sustainably, at a height of between 1000 and 1600m feet.
After pneumatic crushing and vinification in new French barrels and stirring on the lees for five months, the wine is lightly filtered on the twelfth month and bottled. It then rests in the bottle for a minimum of six months.
Chateau de Seuil is bright gold in colour and on the nose, I detected elderflower and brioche with an aromatic twist. On the palate, we detected Cantaloupe melon, peach, elderflower, blackcurrant, gooseberry with a smoky finish. This is wine is beautifully balanced with good acidity to fruit.
It matched well the creamy chicken, mushroom and fennel casserole we had for our main course.
I think it would also go well with creamy shellfish dishes such as the lobster, prawn and scallop and as with other Bordeaux white wines this would drink well with hard cheeses such as Lyburn, Old Amsterdam Gouda, or Lincolnshire Poacher.
UK retailer: Virgin Wines £14.99
Château Le Coin Sauvignon Gris 2020, Bordeaux Blanc
A mutation of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris is richer and spicier than Sauvignon Blanc but with a citrus/ lime zing.
Chateau Le Coin Sauvignon Gris is the outcome of a collaboration between Ludovic Roussillon, owner of Chateau Le Coin and award-winning wine maker, Jean-Marc Sauboua at the estate in Entre Deux Mers. The soils, on limestone, lend themselves to the production of a lovely fruit intensity in the wine. Old vines and a small portion of oak fermentation give even more richness.
In the glass Chateau Le Coin is pale, green straw in colour.
Usually, this wine is made from a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris but in 2020 Jean-Marc Souboua was persuaded to produce a single varietal from Sauvignon Gris and it has definitely paid off.
On the nose are aromas of elderflower, lime, apricot and fennel. On the palate peach, elderflower, apricot, lemon and lime. Long on the palate with a twist of fennel at the end.
This is a perfectly balanced wine with luscious fruits balancing the acidity but a rich butteryness adding to a great drinking experience.
Chateau Le Coin would be a great quaffing wine for a Christmas Party but you could also drink it with Mac n’cheese or luxury fish pie containing monkfish, scallops, salmon, smoked haddock, dill in a creamy sauce and topped with buttery celeriac mash. An unlikely combination that I would never have entertained, but as my host served moussaka as a main course, we tried it with that and it was strangely enhancing for the spice and herbs in the moussaka. Who would have thought a white wine would have matched minced lamb!
It is obvious that as another example of white Bordeaux this wine would go well with hard cheeses such as Comté.
This was voted the most popular offering by my wine buff friends from these four Bordeaux wines.
UK Retail: £11.99 Laithwaites
Château de Rochemorin 2018, Pessac-Leognan
Chateau de Rochemorin dates back to 1520 and until the early part of the last century was regarded as producing the best wines in Martillac. However, it was sold to foresters in 1919 and the land was planted with trees, until Andre Lurton acquired it in 1973 when he set out to restore it to its former glory.
A great advocate of this wine in the eighteenth century was Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, the famous philosopher and author of "The Spirit of the Laws”, who spent his childhood here.
It is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes. In the glass the appearance is bright yellow in colour with a greenish tint but turns a bright amber as it ages.
It has an elegant nose with aroma reminiscent of citrus, (grapefruit/lemon), white peach and acidity and fruit are subtly balanced with floral and more exotic notes. Peaches, apples, pears can be detected on the palate. Partially barrel-fermented, and aged 10 months in oak, this classic Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc has the traditional grassy, citrus character, with a softer, lusher finish than most due to the gravelly soil of Pessac and the French oak. The smoky finish reflects the unique gravel terroir in Pessac-Léognan. Smooth to start off, it ends with a long sweep of freshness.
This would match well with asparagus, smoked salmon Gravadlax, Crab linguine or any shellfish, chicken or veal in a creamy sauce.
Again, this wine would be a great foil for hard cheeses such as Leyden with caraway and cumin seeds or Proosdij with its mature sweetness.
UK Retailer: Waitrose £17.99
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Artichoke pasta and very fine Pigato
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