White Bordeaux

A region-by-region look at Bordeaux Blanc


With summer just beginning to wind down, I should probably start looking for something to greet the onset of autumn, but instead I’m going to grab on to a bottle that can make summer last. 

Now, granted, white Bordeaux may not be everyone’s first thought for a summer wine, but it certainly should be. It's great as a summer refresher, and with so many available styles of white Bordeaux, it's easy to find one for almost any other time, as well. I especially like it at those times when one is faced with a big platter of shellfish -- my favorite match for white Bordeaux!

You see, white Bordeaux, like red Bordeaux, isn’t really a single wine but rather a blend of up to three grapes that undergo a variety of winemaking techniques, each yielding a distinctly different and delicious version of Bordeaux Blanc!

The folks from EnjoyBordeaux.com are bringing you a fun way to learn about Bordeaux Blanc thanks to live chats with Le Wine Buff (a fun team of Bordeaux wine experts). This Thursday, August 19th they will have 2 Le Wine Buffs available to answer all your questions about Bordeaux Blanc and beyond!
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So Bordeaux Blanc isn’t a single wine, then? Not at all! Not only are there great differences among the grapes used (Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are the two most common grapes that form the basis for all Bordeaux Blanc) but each region excels in producing a particular style of white Bordeaux.

Did you know that until fairly recently, certainly during the first half of the 20th century, more white Bordeaux was produced than red? It’s amazing, but true. Today that ratio stands on its head with only about 15% of Bordeaux being white. While quantities are down, quality is way up, ironically making Bordeaux Blanc one of the great unsung heroes of the wine world!

So, what goes into making white Bordeaux? As I mentioned, the basis for virtually every bottle of white Bordeaux is either Semillon or Sauvignon Blanc, yes, that Sauvignon Blanc that has been made so popular in places as diverse as New Zealand and Napa Valley. Why aren’t the wines made with 100% Sauvignon Blanc, you might ask -- well, besides tradition, there are a number of reasons why blending makes for better wines in Bordeaux.

The easiest way to illustrate the how and why of Bordeaux blending is to take a look at the individual elements that can make up a bottle of Bordeaux Blanc.

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