Showing posts with label Muscadelle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Muscadelle. Show all posts

Monday, May 23, 2022

White Wine From Bordeaux

Dry white wines are in their prime spot now that spring is here and summer is upon us.  Places like Spain's Rias Baixas region or France's Rhône Valley come to mind immediately.  However, the Bordeaux region is also becoming as known for its white wines as for its reds.

There are 12 AOCs for dry whites in BDX, with eight main grape varieties in use.  Two recently approved varieties - Alvarinho and Liliorila - coming into play thanks to climate change.  The Portuguese Alvarinho grape is known in northwestern Spain as Albarino, while Liliorila is a cross of Baroque and Chardonnay.  Both have strong aromatics, which is an area that suffers as the climate warms.

Château Moulin de Launay produces a great white wine at a very reasonable price.  It is from the Entre-Deux-Mers area of Bordeaux, situated between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers.  Red wines are made here, too, but only the whites carry the Entre-Deux-Mers AOC.  

Moulin de Launay's Entre-Deux-Mers Les Ailes d'Or is made from five different grapes - 35% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Muscadelle, 20% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Ugni Blanc.  Alcohol tips in at 12.5% abv and a bottle can be had in most places for around $15.

This white Bordeaux wine has a subdued nose, but traces of stone fruit and citrus do come through the mineral curtain.  The palate is also laced with minerals and citrus, with a nice touch of salinity to add to the waterside connotation of the region's name.  The acidity is fresh and zippy enough for a salad, some vegetables or a seafood dish.  

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

French Sweetie

Monbazillac is in France's Côtes de Bergerac region, in the southwest part of the country, along the Dordogne River.  Bordeaux is to the west, with its more expensive cousin wine, Sauternes.

The wines of Monbazillac are sweet, white wines made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes.

It's a pretty good bet that a wine produced in a land that's been making wines since the Middle Ages will be a good one.  Even better when it's a sweet one, too.

Château Tirecul La Gravière Monbazillac 2013

Claudie and Bruno Bilancini leased the Monbazillac property in 1992 and bought it '97, during a time of rebirth in the Monbazillac AOC.  One of the more noted wine writers compares the outfit to Château d’Yquem, a fairly noted outfit on their own.  Their wines have been fully organic since 2012. 

The Cru de Tirecul sports, on average, 40-year-old vines of Semillon and Muscadelle.  They are harvested late in clusters showing advanced botrytis, or noble rot.  That's where the sweet comes from.  The wine bears some resemblance to the wines of Sauternes, but with less oak effect.  The wine was aged for 25 months in French oak barrels, hits 12% alcohol and retails for around 20 bucks.

This golden sweetie smells succulent, with the nose showing honey, apples and chalk.  The palate is pure dessert, with some razor-sharp acidity thrown in just to make us want to pair it with a steak or something crazy like that.  It's all sweet all the time, yet does not even go near the "cloying" signpost.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Holiday Wines: The Cadillac of Sweet Bordeaux

The sweet wines of Bordeaux often are relegated to the dessert category, and why not?  They pair so well with dessert plates they could even serve as dessert all on their own.  However, they are not just for dessert.  They're for snacking, too.  The holidays are a great time to do some snacking.  That gym membership will still be good in January.

Non-dessert usage of Sweet Bordeaux wines was the thrust of a recent online virtual tasting in which I was invited to take part.  #GoGoldenBordeaux even supplied some tasty and savory treats to pair with the wines, just to reinforce the "opposites attract" method of wine pairing.  Snooth hosted the event, with Master of Wine Mary Gorman-McAdams also taking part.

Louis Bordenave is a "grape engineer" at the Institute of Vine and Wines Sciences, part of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research.  He says the Sémillon grape is best suited for the sweet, white wines of Bordeaux that are spread out over ten appellations within BDX.  Bordenave figures that Semillon is probably the only variety native to Bordeaux among both whites and reds.

Chateau Manos Cadillac 2016

The Cadillac region is located in Bordeaux's Entre-Deux-Mers subregion, the area in between the  Garonne and Dordogne rivers, hence the name "between two seas."

The wine is 95% Sémillon, with the rest of the grape varieties divvied up between Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle.  All were affected by botrytis, or the noble rot which produces more sugar and makes the wine sweet.  Alcohol checks in at the usual 13.5% abv.

This is a rather lightly colored sweet Bordeaux that exudes the apricot-and-earth nose I get from nearly all wines of this type.  The minerality isn't terribly strong, but it's nice just the same.  The palate is sweet and tasty with an easy acidity and a bit of a tart finish.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chateau Boyrein Blanc Graves 2008

We were a little early for a show recently and decided to have a bite before, rather than after.  We were rather looking forward to the salute to Noel Coward, hosted by Stephen Fry, and maybe the evening's card had us feeling a bit continental.  We elected to drop in at Michel Richard on Robertson.

It had been quite a while since my wife had been there, and I was a newcomer.  Inside it appeared somewhat different to her, and not at all what I expected.  It looked a little down at the heels, actually.  We found that Richard no longer owns the place, although his name is still on it.

It is still a French restaurant and pastry shop, though, and my quiche was very good.  Denise just sort of pushed her food around on the plate with her fork.  The prices were a real surprise to me, and not a bad one.  Portions were large, but the prices were at least three or four dollars cheaper than I expected.  That doesn't happen too often.  And my wine was only $5.50 per glass.  That hardly ever happens.

To top it off, the wine list was pretty decent.  I selected a white Bordeaux, simply because I hardly ever see them offered in restaurants.  The Chateau Boyrein Blanc Graves was not sweet like a Sauternes, but dry as a bone.  In Graves, the whites are typically made up of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle.  Sure enough, the nose featured a very fresh grassiness and the "wet rocks" scent of minerals.  There was citrus on the palate, which had a rich and creamy element to it as well.  The wine was extremely aromatic and deliciously satisfying, especially in its pairing with the quiche.

The dinner cost about $12 less that it might have in another eatery, and it was delicious.  Mine was, at least.  Thankfully, the wife's evening was saved by the show.  Stephen Fry to the rescue.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"They Got This Recession On" Wines, Part 8

Mouton Cadet Blanc Bordeaux 2008

It's January as I take the Mouton Cadet in hand.  It's been in my rack since the warmer weather and other bright, shiny objects have been bumping it off the pedestal for quite some time.  The amazing reds of winter, I have decided, shall take a back seat today.  

I don't feel that I drink enough French wine.  I'm such a fanboy for California's Central Coast that I just don't seem to get around to Bordeaux as often as I would like.  Why not do so with a wine from a legendary name?  Baron Philippe de Rothschild seems legendary enough.

Aah, but I have forgotten - they got this recession on.  No matter.  This legendary Bordeaux cost a mere $8 at Trader Joe's.  As a matter of fact, Mouton Cadet got its start in the not-so-hot economic times of the 1930s.  Baron Phillippe determined the 1930 vintage was not of high enough quality and proceeded to declassify it, taking the Chateau label off the bottle and creating a new brand - Cadet, since he was the youngest in the family.  The wine has undergone a number of changes through its history, but has built a solid reputation for affordable quality.

This white wine is a pale golden hue in the glass.  The nose is ruled by Sauvignon Blanc, with aromas of grassiness and wet sidewalk showing the mineral aspect.  Grapefruit zest is also abundant.  I taste the crisp tartness of the Sauvignon Blanc and get a mellow edge from the Semillon and Muscadelle.  Cadet finishes very clean and leaves the palate feeling completely refreshed.

Variety:  60% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Semillon, 10% Muscadelle
Appellation:  France > Bordeaux
Vintage:  2008
Alcohol Level:  12%
Price:  $8
Acquisition disclaimer:  Purchased by the author