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Half bottle of Château Bel Air Perponcher Blanc Réserve Bordeaux 2020

White Wine from France - Bordeaux
Reliably fresh, aromatic and unoaked Bordeaux white from Entre-Deux Mers combining roughly two-thirds sauvignon and a third semillon with a touch of muscadelle for added character.
Price: £5.95 Half Bottle
Price: £71.00 Case of 12
In Stock
Code: BW6942

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • Dry
  • Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
  • 12% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Now to 2022
  • 37.5cl (Half bottle)
  • Cork, natural

Dry White Bordeaux

The Bordeaux region is most renowned for its red wines but there are a number of excellent dry white wines, some of them amongst the most prestigious white wines in France, and indeed the world.

White wine represents little more than 10% of the output of the region, from vines grown on about 7,000 hectares. Unlike Bordeaux AC reds, whites under the simple Bordeaux appellation may come from very prestigious properties within a commune because the commune appellation rules sometimes apply only to red wine. Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux and Ygrec, the dry white wines from the legendary producers Château Margaux and Château d’Yquem respectively, can only bear the appellation Bordeaux AC despite each estates’ renown and status as a 1er grand cru classé for red wines.

As with reds under the basic Bordeaux appellations, the grapes that make white wine can come from anywhere in Bordeaux (and if made by a négociant company probably will). The principal grape varieties for Bordeaux AC...
The Bordeaux region is most renowned for its red wines but there are a number of excellent dry white wines, some of them amongst the most prestigious white wines in France, and indeed the world.

White wine represents little more than 10% of the output of the region, from vines grown on about 7,000 hectares. Unlike Bordeaux AC reds, whites under the simple Bordeaux appellation may come from very prestigious properties within a commune because the commune appellation rules sometimes apply only to red wine. Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux and Ygrec, the dry white wines from the legendary producers Château Margaux and Château d’Yquem respectively, can only bear the appellation Bordeaux AC despite each estates’ renown and status as a 1er grand cru classé for red wines.

As with reds under the basic Bordeaux appellations, the grapes that make white wine can come from anywhere in Bordeaux (and if made by a négociant company probably will). The principal grape varieties for Bordeaux AC whites are sauvignon blanc, semillon, sauvignon gris, ugni blanc and muscadelle with some smaller plantings of colombard and a little merlot blanc.

At one time semillon was the most widely planted grape variety in Bordeaux, red or white, but since public taste moved decisively to red wines it has declined and now plays second fiddle to sauvignon blanc, which has enjoyed a renaissance in the wake of New Zealand’s success with the variety. Indeed, while most Bordeaux wines are a blend of complementary grape varieties, there are now a significant number of single-varietal sauvignons on the market.

White grapes, particularly sauvignon blanc, are harvested earlier than reds, unless they are destined for sweet wines, and many are hand-picked because of the narrow width of the rows in many Bordeaux vineyards though machine harvesting is an option for some. Vineyard management, as with reds, is much improved in recent decades, with a much better understanding of vine care and canopy management leading to more reliably ripened and healthy fruit. Those that can afford to will sort the grapes at least once on arrival at the winery, partly because of the inherent problems of fungal attacks in Bordeaux.

Winemaking techniques vary, with some producers having the resources to give the juice extended skin contact and the resulting wine some time in oak, though most cannot and do not. The bad old days of excessive use of sulphur are mostly gone and white wines are greatly improved, with better fruit characters across the board and terrific freshness and balance. The best wines are world class and many provide excellent value.

Bordeaux whites have a very pale yellow colour when young which will deepen to straw yellow with age. Pessac-Léognan whites and those vinified in oak are generally richer in colour and flavour and favour more elaborate fish and white-meat dishes.
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Vignobles Despagne

Vignobles Despagne is responsible for six Bordeaux properties, spanning 300 hectares, and is known for taking more care of its vines than some classed growths.

The family shines like a beacon in Entre-Deux-Mers. In 1990, it acquired Château Bel-Air Perponcher here, and has developed as high a reputation for its whites as its reds at this property. The vines, which are immaculately tended, comprise sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle for the whites and merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc for the reds and the company’s rosé. Vines have been cultivated organically since 2008.

The ‘grand vin’ here is 80% merlot, with 10% each of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, and is aged in new oak barrels. Drink it between four to eight years after the vintage.

A lighter, unoaked wine (the Réserve) is also made, as well as a semillon-dominant white which is cool fermented to achieve a refreshing, aromatic character. The property’s rosé is made using cabernet sauvignon (plus around 30% merlot and a little cabernet franc), the grapes for which are picked at optimum ripeness to retain their freshness.

This property is run by Basaline Despagne, and her brother Thibault runs Château Mont-Perat, a fantastic example of a Premier Cotes de Bordeaux from the right bank of the Garonne. Acquired in 1998, the four splendidly positioned hills of vines here are managed by Jean-Pierre Cousinié.

A quarter of the estate is given to the white wine, which is typically a blend of 80% sauvignon ...
Vignobles Despagne is responsible for six Bordeaux properties, spanning 300 hectares, and is known for taking more care of its vines than some classed growths.

The family shines like a beacon in Entre-Deux-Mers. In 1990, it acquired Château Bel-Air Perponcher here, and has developed as high a reputation for its whites as its reds at this property. The vines, which are immaculately tended, comprise sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle for the whites and merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc for the reds and the company’s rosé. Vines have been cultivated organically since 2008.

The ‘grand vin’ here is 80% merlot, with 10% each of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, and is aged in new oak barrels. Drink it between four to eight years after the vintage.

A lighter, unoaked wine (the Réserve) is also made, as well as a semillon-dominant white which is cool fermented to achieve a refreshing, aromatic character. The property’s rosé is made using cabernet sauvignon (plus around 30% merlot and a little cabernet franc), the grapes for which are picked at optimum ripeness to retain their freshness.

This property is run by Basaline Despagne, and her brother Thibault runs Château Mont-Perat, a fantastic example of a Premier Cotes de Bordeaux from the right bank of the Garonne. Acquired in 1998, the four splendidly positioned hills of vines here are managed by Jean-Pierre Cousinié.

A quarter of the estate is given to the white wine, which is typically a blend of 80% sauvignon and 20% semillon, although in some vintages a small amount of muscadelle is also included. This is fermented in French oak, around half of which is new, before being matured in oak for a further eight months. The red is normally 70% merlot with the remainder made up of 20% cabernet sauvignon and 10% cabernet franc. This is aged in oak, 50% of which is new, for seven to ten months, and will keep well for four to 12 years. Mont-Perat was featured in a Japanese Manga publication called Drops of God, in which drinking it was compared to attending a Queen concert, and the wine has subsequently developed an enormous Asian following.

The talented Joël Elissalde is the oenologist here, and has been since 1987, and his hard work over the years means that Mont-Perat could often pass for a much more expensive wine. He also works with Thibault on Girolate, a superb 100% merlot wine that is a consistent hit with the critics.

There are 10 hectares of Girolate vines, planted on south-facing limestone slopes, much like those in Saint-Emilion. Each parcel of vines is fermented separately in oak barrels which are rotated twice a day to soften the wine’s tannins.

The Despagne family also owns and runs Château Tour de Mirambeau, Château Rauzan Despagne and Château Lion Beaulieu. Both the Despagne family and its team are constantly striving for improvement, and Vignobles Despagnes has earned much well-deserved respect over the years, as well as a popular place in the tastes of Society members.
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2020 vintage reviews
2019 vintage reviews
2018 vintage reviews

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