White Bordeaux: Affordably Delicious

by Rhonda Turner

Bordeaux (Bor-do) refers to a wine region on the western coast of France. Today, over 90% of Bordeaux wines are red – Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. But this was not always the case.

The Bordeaux region was once home to white wines, Sauvignon Blanc and Sauternes – a sweet white wine. These sweet whites had a prestigious clientele. Also, in the 1700s, a Bordeaux rose, claret (klair-ette), was made popular by the English. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that Bordeaux reds entered into its own.

But what is White Bordeaux? 

White Bordeaux

White Bordeaux wines are made with Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon grapes. Muscadelle and a few other less-known varietals, such as Colombard and Ugni Blanc, are also used in some blends.

This limpid, pale yellow wine ranges in taste from energetic and fresh from places like Entre-Deux-Mers to creamy and lemon curd-like from places like Pessac-Leognan

Entre-Deux-Mers 

The area between Bordeaux’s two major rivers, the Garonne and Dordogne, is called Entre-Deux-Mers. This region is a French appellation that produces both white and red grapes. The name means, Between 2 Tides

By law, the Entre-Deux-Mers designation is given only to dry white wines blended from three-grape — Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle. Luckily, all three varietals flourish in the terroirs of the plateau and valley. The abundant clay and limestone are perfect for growing wine.

Wines from this area have a pale gold color and are light and fruity. Immensely sippable and affordable, the White Bordeaux from this region exhibit notes of grapefruit, lime, grass, basil, and stone fruits. It has higher acidity, pairing it well with fish, grilled food, and warmer summer temperatures.

Pessac-Leognan

Romans first planted the Pessac-Leognan, and Graves region with grapes roughly 2,000 years ago. Pessac-Leognan, Graves has Bordeaux’s hottest micro-climate with a harvest season well before the other regional appellations. 

Pessac-Léognan is considered the cradle of dry white Bordeaux wine production. Named for the gravelly soil, the area is known for producing several styles of white wine. 

White Bordeaux from this area, made predominantly of Semillon grapes, has a deeper, more opulent feel on the palette. To add to its complexity, many white Bordeaux wineries age their wines on lees, which matures white wine on top of spent yeast. This aging process gives the wine a distinct full-bodied taste with creamy or nutty flavors.

The Semillion grape grown in the clay and pine-tree-centric terroir imparts notes of baked apples, pears, figs, and crème brûlée. The grape blend also softens the citrus notes into carmelized grapefruit, orange zest, ginger, lemon butter, and chamomile.

White Bordeaux’s food-friendly approach results from the wine’s citrus notes — pairing with any food containing lime, lemon, or basil. Additionally, Bordeaux Blanc pairs well with cheeses, fatty and spicy foods, or butter and cream sauces. This open relationship with food is particularly true with the sweeter bottles.

Related: Food and Wine: Whites

Other Bordeaux Blanc Food Pairings

All in a Name

Yes, Bordeaux Blanc translates into White Bordeaux. But white Bordeaux wine is also produced in other appellations. And there are differences. 

The difference is usually evident in the wine’s cost, but a closer look at the label will indicate the varietal’s pedigree. 

Because of the French AOC laws governing the planting and blending of wines, white Bordeaux may be Bordeaux Blanc, but not all Bordeaux Blanc is AOC White Bordeaux. For example, White Bordeaux wine is also produced in other appellations, and a white Bordeaux wine from the Medoc region must be labeled and sold as a generic Bordeaux Blanc.

The white wines of Bordeaux offer seductive aromas, almost foolproof pairings, and a brilliant affordable opportunity to taste the best of Bordeaux’s terroir and some of the oldest grape vines in the world. And unlike other white wine styles, thanks to the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion grapes and the French wine-making process, the French region’s best whites are uniquely age-worthy.



FEATURED EVENTS

Crush Wine Experiences

October 23, 2021

A once-in-a-lifetime experience

Piedmont Italy: Barolo and Barbaresco tour

Oct 23 – 30, 2021
6 nights, 7 days
Milan, Barolo, Alba, and Turin

RESERVE NOW
Crush Wine Experiences

September 23, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Kotti Berliner – Food & Wine Pairing

Join us for a Virtual Food & Wine Pairing with Brooklyn’s Kotti Berliner. Explore delicious döner kebabs paired with wine. Meet Kotti founder, Erkan Emre.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

September 16, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Broadbent Selections – Portugal

Join us for a Virtual Tasting with one of America’s leading importers of high-quality Portuguese wines.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

September 2, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Cusumano Winery – Sicily, Italy

Join us for a Virtual Tasting with the maker of the #1 selling Sicilian wine in the U.S.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

August 26, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Kunde Family Winery

Join us for a Virtual Tasting. The Kunde family has farmed an 1,850-acre estate in Sonoma Valley for 100 years.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

August 19, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards

Join us for a Virtual Tasting. Great wine starts in the vineyard.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

August 12, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Dutcher Crossing Winery

Join us for a Virtual Tasting. Distinctive and hand-crafted wines produced from award-winning vineyards.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

June 12, 2020

At Your Home

RGNY At-Home Blending Session

Be your own winemaker for a day — guided by a professional on Zoom video!

PURCHASE KIT & ZOOM TICKET
Crush Wine Experiences

May 29, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Virtual Wine & Pizza Tasting with Jamesport Vineyards

What’s better than great wine and artisanal pizza?

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 28, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Foxen Winery & Vineyard Virtual Tasting

Experience the magic of Santa Barbara wine.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 28, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Foxen Winery & Vineyard Virtual Tasting

Experience the magic of Santa Barbara wine.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 21, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Chateau Montelena Winery Virtual Tasting

This tasting will be epic.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 19, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Ridge Vineyards Virtual Tasting – Monte Bello winery

The New York Times described Ridge Monte Bello as “America’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon.”

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 18, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Tenuta di Lilliano Virtual Tasting

Very special tasting. Don’t miss it!

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 15, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Pedroncelli Winery Virtual Tasting

Four Generations of Family Pride at Pedroncelli Winery, since 1927

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 14, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Provence Rosé Group Virtual Tasting

The best rosé in the world comes from Provence.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 13, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

St. Francis Winery Virtual Tasting

Voted “#1 in America” in 2013 and 2015 by Open Table customers.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 12, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Ridge Vineyards Virtual Tasting – Lytton Springs

The New York Times described Ridge’s Cabernet Sauvignon as America’s greatest.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 11, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Oak Farm Vineyards Virtual Tasting

Visit the famous wine-growing region of Lodi County, California – virtually!

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 8, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Goldschmidt Vineyards Virtual Tasting

Visit Sonoma County – virtually!

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

April 18, 2020

Marlboro, NY

Wines & Bites!

Hudson Valley’s yummiest wine and food tasting event

GET TICKETS
Crush Wine Experiences

March 7, 2020

New York’s Premier Winter Wine Event

NYC Winter Wine and Food Festival

Enjoy a winter getaway without even leaving the city.

GET TICKETS
Crush Wine Experiences

January 19, 2020

Riverhead, NY

RG|NY Blending Session

Join RG|NY winemaker Lilia Perez, for a unique tasting and blending session.

PURCHASE TICKETS
Crush Wine Experiences

December 14, 2019

Ulster & Orange Counties, NY

Wreath Fineries at the Wineries

Don’t miss the ultimate holiday wine tasting event in the Hudson Valley. Sales end Thursday, Dec 12 at 11:59pm!

PURCHASE TICKETS
Crush Wine Experiences

November 14, 2019

New York, NY

Around The World In 10 Wines

Experience a global tasting in 2 hours with award-winning artisan cheese and charcuterie

PURCHASE TICKETS

RELATED WINE BLOGS

Thursday, November 24th, 2022

5 Thanksgiving Wines from 5 Countries
Lighter-bodied wines with less oak are great holiday choices Beaujolais Nouveau is released on the third Thursday of November every year Rioja is great with cranberry sauce or any baked pies Thanksgiving usually involves multiple dishes scattered throughout the table to be shared by loved ones on this special day of feasting. So, to make - Read More
Read more...
harvest

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022

A Day In The Life of a Harvest Intern
Happy harvest season everyone! The job of a harvest intern involves many aspects of wine industry production including the not-so-pretty parts like being covered in grape juice at the end of a shift or getting chased by bees on the crush pad. Coming from a culinary background I’ve always been surrounded by people who’ve dedicated - Read More
Read more...
syrah

Monday, November 14th, 2022

Syrah 101: So Nice They Named it Twice
While it’s called Syrah through most of the world, this native of the Rhône Valley goes by Shiraz in Australia. And though they’re both the same grape, this name distinction is used to indicate the different styles of Syrah (or Shiraz!).  Keep reading to explore the dry, full-bodied, and food-friendly Syrah – where it grows, - Read More
Read more...
LOAD MORE