Bordeaux wines suffer from a persistent cliché: Bordeaux would only produce red wines. Admittedly, the region produces mostly reds, but not only! Indeed, white wine lovers will still find everything they’re looking for, from dry to sweet whites. Let Bordeaux Wine Trails introduce you to the different styles of white wines we have in Bordeaux.
First, there are different grape varieties used in Bordeaux whites, that all accomodate to the region’s climate and soils in their own specific way.
- Sauvignon: this is the flagship variety of Bordeaux dry whites, as it is the mostly used in blendings. It is very round and very aromatic , with notes of boxwood, citrus and white flowers. It grows perfectly on fresh soils of clay or limestone.
- Sémillon: this grape variety goes perfectly well with Sauvignon, as they supplement one another. Indeed, it brings roundness and fat to the wine, along with notes of honey, beeswax and dried fruits. Sémillon is as well used for dry whites as for sweet whites.
- Muscadelle: this grape variety is less used in blendings than the two previous ones, because it is more difficult to grow it. However, its notes of exotic fruits, nutmeg and honeysuckle make it more and more valued by winemakers, especially in the Graves, a wine region of Bordeaux.
Bordeaux dry whites
Lively and fruity whites
They are represented in appellations such as Bordeaux blanc, Entre-Deux-Mers and Côtes de Bordeaux. These whites have fruity aromas of citrus and acacia, and are astonishingly fresh. They are usually vinified and aged in vats. It is recommended to drink them young (between one and three years).
Structured and generous whites
They are represented in appellations such as Graves et Pessac-Léognan. Unlike lively and fruity whites, they are aged in barrels. Consequently, they are more powerful and complexed wines, and they have a higher cellaring potential. It is recommended to keep them 10 years on average.
Bordeaux sweet whites
These wines enjoy a world wide fame due to their refined elaboration. First, they come from special grapes, that are overriped by the action of noble rot. Then, these grapes are harvested manually – only to pick up the perfect grapes. This rot results in highly sugared wines, with notes of candied fruits, honey and spices.
Soft and fruity whites
As for liqueur wines, the grapes of soft whites are harvested overriped, but sooner, which makes them less sugary. They are thus lighter, and have notes of fresher fruits, such as grape fruit and pineapple. They are also very smooth with a fatty side.
Crémant de Bordeaux
Crémant only represents a modest part of Bordeaux wines, but this sparkling wine knows a great growth in popularity. Bordeaux is trying to give it back its good name by raising the quality of its making-process. Its richness, its strong structure and its complex bouquet of citrus and hazelnuts are very surprising. And they are well balanced by notes of white flowers, and above all by its pleasant creaminess. It has become the perfect beverage for summer parties!