“Great wine is about nuance, surprise, subtlety, expression, qualities that keep you coming back for another taste. Rejecting a wine because it is not big enough is like rejecting a book because it is not long enough, or a piece of music because it is not loud enough.” — Kermit Lynch “Adventures on the Wine Route”.
Think of Bordeaux and wine in the same thought and likely it’s red wine that immediately comes to mind. But if I include the words Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle next to Bordeaux, you’re likely to pause just a moment, and then try to remember the various white wine regions of France. The whites of Bordeaux fell off our national attention span in the late 1980s. And with some exceptions, the extraordinary price escalation of the region’s reds kept publicity focused on that color. Add in that it’s such a global marketplace that even regions within the same country compete for our attention. Sauvignon Blanc? The Loire. The Rhone produces delicious white wine. So does Burgundy. So too does the Cotes du Roussillon and Alsace, as does Italy, Australia, Spain and the U.S. It’s easy to forget that of “before” when so much of the “now” is pushed between our ears.
|Plating With Fresh Dill, Organic Red Grapes,|
Satsuma Mandarin & a Slice of Blood Orange.
So when I was putting together a very simple lunch recently and my “new” favorite white Rhone was out of stock, I brought along a very nice Cotes du Roussillon instead. But it wasn’t nice enough. More expensive, yes. But not acidic enough to be palate cleansing with a simple lunch of salmon and cream cheese on bread with various accompaniments. My brother came to the rescue with this Graves from his collection. More specifically: a white wine of Herve Dubourdieu of Chateau Graville-Lacoste in the Graves AOC. Not Sauternes or Barsac or the Loire, but Graves – how easy to have forgotten and how sad to have done so. And thanks to Herve Dubourdieu and my brother, Bill, who rescued the lunch.
A dry white, with delicious minerality and cleansing acidity, the Chateau Graville-Lacoste is unusual in its proportion of Semillon (75%) in the blend. It’s finished with 20% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Muscadelle. Fermented to dryness, the wine finishes crisp and cleansing, pairing well against the oily Salmon and fat of the cream cheese while yet remaining rounded. Fruity, with some herbal character, the wine offers lychee, citrus zest and lemongrass opposed by baked apple and lemon butter in a Wallenda of balance. Its ARP is $19. What’s not to like about this?
I’d like to enjoy this wine again, paired with a platter of seafood: crab, shrimp, oysters and scallops, maybe some broiled and crusted white fish along with a green salad and a crusty baguette. Pair it also with cheddar or several semi-soft cheeses., but try it. Not something I instinctively thought would do well with Cheddar, I later made some flourless gnocchi and a sauce of various aged cheddar along with crumbled bacon and broccoli and paired it with this wine. It was delicious. In your quest for new regions and varietals, perhaps you’ve been away from the whites of Bordeaux for too long and it’s time to reacquaint yourself with them. They might just surprise you with nuance, subtlety, and an expressive quality that will keep you coming back for another taste.
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TECH SPECS & ETC:
Varietals: Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc & Muscadelle (see Above)
Appelation: Graves, Bordeaux, France
Soil: Clay & Limestone on Fissured Rock
Age of Vines: 45-48 Years
Vinification & Aging: Stainless, 6 Months
ARP: $19 U.S.
Imported By: Kermit Lynch* (See Quote Above)
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