Sunday, August 28, 2011

White Bordeaux – Château Graville Lacoste

Bonjour à tous!  Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Cépage et Cuisine, Mary’s and Brian’s wine and food blog.  Today, we’re posting a short note about white Bordeaux.  In all our wine explorations and travels, the only white Bordeaux we have tried have been the dessert style wines of Sauternes.  We’ve never tried a dry white Bordeaux!  Shocking!  I’ve never felt particularly attracted to them.  When I think of Bordeaux, I think of the magnificent red wines of the Médoc or Saint Emilion.  While browsing in a wine shop near Jackson, we happened onto this wine, it wasn’t too expensive, so we decided to try it.

Bordeaux is the famous wine region in the southwest part of France, as you can see on this map where the red teardrop marker is located.  It isn’t too far from Spain.  It is near the Atlantic Ocean and is defined by rivers, especially the Gironde.  The ocean provides moderating cool temperatures from the west.  Forests near the ocean buffer the strong winds.  The river helps prevent frost in the spring and cools the surrounding vineyards during the growing season.  The climate and varying soil types provide ideal conditions for the traditional grape varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Malbec among the reds.  The white varieties of Bordeaux are much less well known and include Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

When I think of Sauvignon Blanc, I usually think of other regions such as Sancerre in the Loire Valley of France, many examples in California, or the distinctive wines of New Zealand.  When I think of Semillon, I typically think of the luscious dessert wines of Sauternes and Barsac.  Well, I should keep an open mind.  Mary was enthusiastic about trying this dry white and it turned out to be a great success!

A bit of an aside is the importer of this wine is Kermit Lynch in Berkeley.  You can see that at the top of the label.  We learned years ago that Kermit Lynch appreciates wines of character, elegance, precision, and value.  We’ve just about reached the point that if Kermit is on the label as the importer, we will probably like the wine.  Once again, he was right.  It was delightful!

Château Graville Lacoste is in an area of Bordeaux called Graves, having nothing to do with cemeteries.  It describes gravel or gravelly soil, which is well drained and excellent for growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.  The Graves area is just southwest of the city of Bordeaux, barely far enough to be considered a suburb.

The stony soil, expert viticulture, and careful handling in the cellar produce a wine with great minerality, balance, and vivid flavors which pair well with food.  We paired the wine with a dinner of grilled swordfish, topped with a soy and lemon sauce, pasta with basil pesto, and a gratin of broccoli and red pepper.  We both enjoyed it completely.  We definitely will try this wine again with other foods.  I think it would be delicious with shellfish preparations and poultry dishes.  Here are my notes on the wine.

Château Graville Lacoste Graves 2009.  What a pleasant surprise.  We had no experience with white Bordeaux other than Sauternes.  This one had the imprimatur of Kermit Lynch and not too expensive, so Mary talked me into trying it with our dinner of grilled swordfish.  It turned out to be a pleasure.  It was quite young and the color was a pale straw with flecks of green.  The aroma was mostly lemon citrus with a definite stoniness.  The palate showed a round texture, medium body, but nice, fresh acidity and flavors of lemon, perhaps a little grapefruit, tree fruit, and the same mineral quality we noted on the aroma profile.  Very nicely balanced, food friendly, moderately complex, medium length.  We'll try more of this.  75% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Muscadelle, only 12.0% alcohol.  We paid $23 at Vintage Wine Market at the Renaissance in Ridgeland.

The lesson I learned is to be more open-minded about trying things that have not always appealed to me in the past.  I needed my adventurous Mary to talk me into it, so, thanks, honey!  That’s our post for today, we hope you enjoyed it.  Keep checking back for more wine and food adventures at Cépage et Cuisine.  In the meantime,


No comments:

Post a Comment