SUMMER BORDEAUX WINES
My summers with my husbands family from Gironde were always spent around the lunch table. Hours of sharing wonderful food cooked by his grandmother, stories about life here from his grandfather, and red wine. Always a rather bold, hearty, red wine from Pessac Leognan. Which, is what most of us think about when we come to Bordeaux the first time. However, I want to share some of my favorite Bordeaux whites (a sparkling rose) to enjoy in this sizzling summer heat.
Nothing says summer like a crisp, citrusy, Entre-Deux-Mers. Generally made with semillon and sauvignon blanc grape varieties, this white is the most abundant, and affordable, you will find in Bordeaux. Perfect on a hot summers day with a fresh seafood platter or a nice salad. You can find many decent bottles at around 10 EURO or less in your grocery store. Drink young.
Chateau Bonnet is a classic, you’ll see on many menus locally, or if you are on a tour with Aquitaine Travel Guide! Be it a Coastal tour or city market tour, you’re likely to try with oysters! Can also be ordered online in France (not to be confused with the ‘Tour de Bonnet‘ which is sold in Total Wine in USA) – 28,60 EURO a bottle / 33420 Grezillac / +33 (0)5 57 25 58 58 / https://www.andrelurton.com/Nos-Vins/Nos-Vins/Chateau-Bonnet-Blanc#millesime
My personal favorite AOC for it’s incredible reds and whites, the small micro-climate of Pessac Leognan makes whites that can verge on the more crisp, citrus style. Classically semillon and sauvignon, they also produce some incredibly floral whites with potential for fruity pear or peach notes. This is a great white with more savory fish dishes, with sauces or even summer vegetables with spiced white meats. Drink within 5-7 years.
Chateau Carbonnieaux, a favorite of Thomas Jefferson as well, makes one of the more floral whites that I adore. We’ve eaten a lot of roasted chicken with this wine, but it is so versatile. They sell online and can arrange shipping in France, or plan to pick up directly from the chateau – 32,00 EURO a bottle. Check at Total Wines or with your local caviste in the USA / 1 Avenue de Ferron, 33140 Villenave-d’Ornon / +33 (0)5 57 96 56 20 / https://carbonnieux.com/
PETILLANT COTES DE BOURG
Bouche is a wonderful butcher shop in Bordeaux with a small selection of natural wines, where I most recently also purchased a new summer favorite…a local sparkling. Bordeaux does have some crements (sparkling whites) but so far I haven’t found one that excites me (send me ones to try if you have one you love!). Drink them immediately/young.
Les Chais de la Porte de la Lune makes a sparkling ‘petnat’ with 100% merlot called ‘Purple Rain’. Just so fresh, fruity, with body…the perfect sparkling summer drink. We had a 40 day aged pork chop, grilled and served with a tomato salad with it. Order online, can arrange shipping in France or local pickup from their location in Bordeaux – 16,80 EURO a bottle / 24 Cours du Medoc, 33000 Bordeaux / +33 (0)6 74 68 47 24 / https://leschaisduportdelalune.com/produit/purple-rain-2021/
While all the rage in 1855, Sauternes sweet whites have somewhat fallen out of fashion. Which is a shame, because once you learn how much work goes into one glass, they deserve more attention. A blend of botrytis affected semillon and sauvignon blanc (or rarely sauvignon gris) grapes. These sweet whites are served chilled and are like a dessert on their own. If you want something lighter, some Sauternes Chateaux are making a lighter version with generally around half the amount of sugar as in a classic. The other alternative, is using their wines to create the ‘saujito‘ , which the AOC has been promoting in recent years. Replacing the rum in a mojito, with Sauternes wine. It’s delicious.
Lighter Sauternes choice would be one like the 100% semillon Chateau Sirona, citrusy but still offering those classic notes of honeysuckle. Drink within 10 years. Made by a winemaking cooperative, a nice wine at 18,00 EURO a bottle which can be ordered online for delivery in France, or visit the caviste ‘La Maison du Vigneron de Sauternes’ in Sauternes and buy directly / 2 Rue Principale, 33210 Sauternes / +33 (0)5 57 31 00 89 / https://www.vinsdesauternes.fr/en/produit/sirona-2015-sauternes-cooperative-cellar
Classic Sauternes go for Chateau Filhot, a family owned estate just near the town. Their semillon, sauvignon and muscadelle blend is a great standard Sauternes which will only become more intense as they age. Can keep for decades. Enjoy with classic foie gras or a cheese plate (don’t forget a good blue cheese like Roquefort). Order directly from the chateau or a caviste in the USA – young vintage will be around 20 EURO a bottle / Chateau Filhot, 33210 Sauternes / +33 (0)5 56 76 61 09 / http://www.filhot.com/