Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Holiday Wine: Sweet Wine From Bordeaux

France's Bordeaux region is more than just Cabernet and Merlot.  It is also features sweet, golden dessert wines made largely from Sémillon grapes.  Sweet white wine is not everyone's cup, but sweet Bordeaux wines are for more than dessert.  Start a meal with them, an aperitif, or pair them with your main courses.  Try to pair sweet wines with something salty or savory for a great balance.  Have it with the pumpkin pie, sure, but try it with the ham and turkey, too.  You'll be surprised at the pairing.

Sweet Bordeaux US and Snooth recently put on a virtual tasting of a nice selection of such wines, and I was lucky enough to be included.

Chateau du Cros Loupiac  2014

The Chateau du Cros has been in the Guyenne province since the 12th century in the high ground of Loupiac, overlooking the Garonne Valley.  The oldest vines on the property date back to 1907, which their website says is a rarity.  With vineyards also in Cadillac and Graves, the grapes for this wine were grown in Loupiac.

Loupiac is a region in Bordeaux that is known for its sweet wines.  It's close to Sauternes and right between Cadillac and Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, if you’ve been there.  If you’ve never had a sweet wine graced with the mineral effect of limestone soil, you’re in for a treat.

Those grapes are 90% Semillon, with 5% each Sauvignon and Muscadelle rounding out the blend.  The roots reportedly reach down through nearly two feet of limestone clay to get water.  The Loupiac terroir of this vineyard is prized by the Michel Boyer family who have run the chateau in modern times, and it is revered in the region.  Aging took place in oak barrels for a full 12 months, something I understand is a fairly recent adaptation.  The sweet wine hits just 13% abv in alcohol content and retails for about $15.

This sweet Bordeaux pushes all the right buttons for a wine style that wants to be known as "more than dessert."  The rich golden hue beckons, while the nose of candied fruit is draped in a cloak of minerality.  The palate certainly wants to be more than an after-dinner afterthought.  The viscous mouthfeel, bracing acidity and mineral-driven flavor profile form a trio unlikely to be caught traveling together in most sweet wines.  They have been doing it in Bordeaux for centuries.