Posted on 17.04.20 Wine of the Week

#WOTW: why a Bordeaux white is a winner at dinner

Think Bordeaux and an expensive red springs to mind? It’s fair enough, as that’s the conclusion many come to, but it’s wrong on two counts. Firstly, lots of Bordeaux wine is great value, because they produce so much of it (something like 900 million bottles a year), and secondly, Bordeaux produces some wonderful white wines, and delicious dessert ones too. Sadly, the latter can be a tough sell these days, but the whites are really worth getting to know.

A little over fifty years ago, Bordeaux produced more white wine than red, but these days it accounts for just 10 per cent of production. The main grapes are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle, but you’re unlikely to find much about that on the label. That’s just not the way they do it in Bordeaux.

So why do I think it’s a winner? Well, for a start, it pairs beautifully with so many food options, the quality (these days) is generally high and the wines almost always represent seriously good value. Take this example, from one of our most venerable merchants, Berry Bros & Rudd Good Ordinary White (£10.95 * from Berry Bros & Rudd) is made by Dourthe, a respected producer which has made wine in the region since 1840. The ‘good ordinary’ name might sound a little, well, ordinary, but the wine is far from it. It’s 100 per cent Sauvignon Blanc, but forget those sweaty fruit bombs, this is clean and relatively subtle, with the trademark gooseberry and cut grass complemented by fresh citrus notes.

As for dinner, we really enjoyed it with fresh English asparagus, gently steamed and slathered in butter and cracked black pepper. Asparagus is often regarded as a tricky pairing (more on that next week in a special feature), so it’s a badge of honour for this well made wine, the perfect introduction, if you needed one, to the underrated joy of white Bordeaux.

*Berry Bros are open online, and delivering, despite the Coronavirus pandemic

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