White Bordeaux - Buy six bottles for £49
White Bordeaux - Buy six bottles for £49

Get to know… white Bordeaux

Bordeaux is the source of some of the world’s most famous (and in some case expensive) reds, but it's also home to some of France’s best but least-known whites!

With sauvignon blanc as the star grape, white Bordeaux ranges from bursting with crisp refreshing flavours through to smoothly sophisticated, lightly oaked examples, and there’s a host of food-friendly delicious wines to discover and fall in love with. We’ve selected six wines to provide a flavourful and fun way to get to know white Bordeaux.





There are two main white Bordeaux styles:

 

Light and Fruity

Floral

Floral

Citrus

Citrus

Grass

Grass


More commonly available, and mostly fermented in stainless-steel tanks so they’re fresh and ready to enjoy young.


Rich and Round

Honey

Honey

Orange zest

Orange zest

Lemon curd

Lemon curd


Made by some top producers, and more suitable for ageing, these often spend time in oak barrels for extra roundness and complexity.

 



Our in-house former sommelier Marjorie thinks the Bordeaux you should all be drinking this summer is… white! Here she tastes through all six wines in our Bordeaux Whites Case.

Our in-house former sommelier Marjorie thinks the Bordeaux you should all be drinking this summer is… white! Here she tastes through all six wines in our Bordeaux Whites Case.




There are three main grapes used to make white Bordeaux – sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle – plus a couple of extra minor players that contribute to blends.




 
Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

This worldwide star white grape actually originated in Bordeaux, and it’s a key part of most white Bordeaux wines, either as a blend with semillon (potentially with splashes of sauvignon gris or muscadelle) or on its own. It usually contributes aromatic, citrusy and sometimes grassy character.

 


 

Semillon

This makes up the bulk of white grape plantings in Bordeaux and often dominates in white Bordeaux blends. It adds apple and pear flavours, plus a honeyed, richer and rounder style, especially if the wine spends a little time in oak.

Semillon
 


 
Muscadelle

Muscadelle

You’ll usually find no more than 10% of this in a white Bordeaux blend, but muscadelle is a delicate grape used to add rich, floral character.

 

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

This worldwide star white grape actually originated in Bordeaux, and it’s a key part of most white Bordeaux wines, either as a blend with semillon (potentially with splashes of sauvignon gris or muscadelle) or on its own. It usually contributes aromatic, citrusy and sometimes grassy character.



Semillon

Semillon

This makes up the bulk of white grape plantings in Bordeaux and often dominates in white Bordeaux blends. It adds apple and pear flavours, plus a honeyed, richer and rounder style, especially if the wine spends a little time in oak.



Muscadelle

Muscadelle

You’ll usually find no more than 10% of this in a white Bordeaux blend, but muscadelle is a delicate grape used to add rich, floral character.



 
Grapes
 
 

Other grapes used:

 

Sauvignon gris

Adds crispness, elegance and power

Ugni blanc

Also known as trebbiano in Italy – fresh and fruity

Colombard

Adds crispness and backbone







 
The Region
 

The Region

Bordeaux White Regions

 

You can find white wines throughout Bordeaux, but the regions you’ll see on the label most often are:

 

 

Entre-Deux-Mers

This appellation is used for white Bordeaux only. You’ll find Entre-Deux-Mers sandwiched between Bordeaux’s two main rivers – the Garonne and the Dordogne. Most wines are a blend of sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle – and unlike elsewhere in Bordeaux, sauvignon usually dominates. Expect crisp, dry whites with fresh citrus character.

Entre-Deux-Mers
 


 
Graves

Graves

On the left bank, and named after the typical gravel (‘graves’) soils found here, Graves produces great-quality whites made from mostly sauvignon and semillon. Expect medium-bodied, lively fresh whites with floral and citrus character. Graves also produces excellent reds.

 


 

Pessac-Léognan

Although now an appellation in its own right, this small region on the left bank was part of northern Graves for a long time. Here you’ll often find oak-aged whites which are usually a blend of semillon and at least one-quarter sauvignon blanc. Expect richer, rounder whites with the potential to age for 10 years or even longer.

Pessac-Léognan
 
 

Entre-Deux-Mers

This appellation is used for white Bordeaux only. You’ll find Entre-Deux-Mers sandwiched between Bordeaux’s two main rivers – the Garonne and the Dordogne. Most wines are a blend of sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle – and unlike elsewhere in Bordeaux, sauvignon usually dominates. Expect crisp, dry whites with fresh citrus character.

Entre-Deux-Mers
 


 
Graves

Graves

On the left bank, and named after the typical gravel (‘graves’) soils found here, Graves produces great-quality whites made from mostly sauvignon and semillon. Expect medium-bodied, lively fresh whites with floral and citrus character. Graves also produces excellent reds.

 


 

Pessac-Léognan

Although now an appellation in its own right, this small region on the left bank was part of northern Graves for a long time. Here you’ll often find oak-aged whites which are usually a blend of semillon and at least one-quarter sauvignon blanc. Expect richer, rounder whites with the potential to age for 10 years or even longer.

Pessac-Léognan
 
Entre-Deux-Mers

Entre-Deux-Mers

This appellation is used for white Bordeaux only. You’ll find Entre-Deux-Mers sandwiched between Bordeaux’s two main rivers – the Garonne and the Dordogne. Most wines are a blend of sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle – and unlike elsewhere in Bordeaux, sauvignon usually dominates. Expect crisp, dry whites with fresh citrus character.



Graves

Graves

On the left bank, and named after the typical gravel (‘graves’) soils found here, Graves produces great-quality whites made from mostly sauvignon and semillon. Expect medium-bodied, lively fresh whites with floral and citrus character. Graves also produces excellent reds.



Pessac-Léognan

Pessac-Léognan

Although now an appellation in its own right, this small region on the left bank was part of northern Graves for a long time. Here you’ll often find oak-aged whites which are usually a blend of semillon and at least one-quarter sauvignon blanc. Expect richer, rounder whites with the potential to age for 10 years or even longer.






Food Matching Dos and Don'ts

Do

Great food matches for Bordeaux white wines include:

Light and Fruity Styles

 

Fish dishes like sea bass, haddock, sole, prawns or even ceviche or sushi
Think of the crisp, citrus nature of the wine like a squeeze of lemon over these light fish dishes.


 
 
Sea Bass
 


 

Soft, crumbly cheeses including Feta, goat’s cheese and Caerphilly
The cheese’s tangy flavour works well with aromatic Bordeaux whites, and the acidity of the wine cuts right through the creaminess of the cheese.


 
 
Goat's Cheese
 


 

Salads
The zingy, zesty nature of a Bordeaux white is almost like a light dressing – and is as lip-smackingly fresh as the leaves and vegetables of a summer salad.


 
 
Salad
 


Rich and Round Styles

 

Risottos starring vegetables like butternut squash or asparagus
Just rich enough to match the warming risotto, but still with enough bite to make the vegetables sing.


 
 
Rissotto
 


 

Pasta with pesto or seafood
The comfort-food nature of pasta needs support from a little roundness in a wine, and the wine’s citrus character will marry well with pesto and fish.


 
 
Seafood Pasta
 


Don'ts

 

Acidic foods like heavily dressed salads or dishes flavoured with lots of lemon
The acidity will fight too hard with the crispness of the wine.


 
 
Lemon
 


 

Overly creamy foods like carbonara or chicken in a thick sauce
The fat will overpower the wine’s fruit and the flavours will fall flat.


 
 
Carbonara
 


Sea bass fillets with a tomato and basil salad

Sea bass fillets with a tomato and basil salad

Perfect with unoaked white Bordeaux. Serves four

Download this recipe as a PDF



Goat's cheese-stuffed courgettes

Goat's cheese-stuffed courgettes with pine nuts and herbs

Great with unoaked white Bordeaux (Serves four)

Download this recipe as a PDF



Fillets of Halibut with beurre blanc and buttered leeks

Fillets of Halibut with beurre blanc and buttered leeks

Great with oaked white Bordeaux (Serves four)

Download this recipe as a PDF



Griddled mackerel with yoghurt, grain mustard and chive-dressed potato salad

Mackerel with yoghurt, mustard and chive-dressed potato salad

Great with unoaked white Bordeaux! (Serves four)

Download this recipe as a PDF



Sea bass fillets with a tomato and basil salad

Sea bass fillets with a tomato and basil salad

Perfect with unoaked white Bordeaux. Serves four

Download this recipe as a PDF

Goat's cheese-stuffed courgettes

Goat's cheese-stuffed courgettes with pine nuts and herbs

Great with unoaked white Bordeaux (Serves four)

Download this recipe as a PDF


Fillets of Halibut with beurre blanc and buttered leeks

Fillets of Halibut with beurre blanc and buttered leeks

Great with oaked white Bordeaux (Serves four)

Download this recipe as a PDF

Griddled mackerel with yoghurt, grain mustard and chive-dressed potato salad

Mackerel with yoghurt, mustard and chive-dressed potato salad

Great with unoaked white Bordeaux! (Serves four)

Download this recipe as a PDF

Sea bass fillets with a tomato and basil salad

Sea bass fillets with a tomato and basil salad

Perfect with unoaked white Bordeaux. Serves four

Download this recipe as a PDF


Goat's cheese-stuffed courgettes

Goat's cheese-stuffed courgettes with pine nuts and herbs

Great with unoaked white Bordeaux (Serves four)

Download this recipe as a PDF


Fillets of Halibut with beurre blanc and buttered leeks

Fillets of Halibut with beurre blanc and buttered leeks

Great with oaked white Bordeaux (Serves four)

Download this recipe as a PDF


Griddled mackerel with yoghurt, grain mustard and chive-dressed potato salad

Mackerel with yoghurt, mustard and chive-dressed potato salad

Great with unoaked white Bordeaux! (Serves four)

Download this recipe as a PDF




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