Love Sauvignon Blanc? Try White Bordeaux

April 21, 2013 Blog » Learn About Wine » Love Sauvignon Blanc? Try White Bordeaux

Smart Finds: White Bordeaux Wine

White Bordeaux Wine Grapes Information

White Bordeaux Grapes

The grapes of White Bordeaux include Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle. There are a few other less-known varieties used in White Bordeaux such as Colombard and Ugni Blanc (the grape used in Cognac), but most White Bordeaux are made of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.
Bordeaux is where Sauvignon Blanc originated and it’s very old. In fact, it’s older than Cabernet Sauvignon, a genetic cross of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc that occured sometime during the 1600’s.


Hot Value: $12-$16
Looking for a great value white wine that’s green like NZ Sauvignon Blanc and zesty like Italian Pinot Grigio? Expect to spend about $12-$16 on a totally quaffable bottle of White Bordeaux.

White Bordeaux Taste

There are two major styles of White Bordeaux: Light & Fruity or Rich & Creamy. Light & Fruity styles make up the majority of White Bordeaux and are generally cheaper. Rich & Creamy White Bordeaux wines are made in a specific region (Pessac-Leognan) and tend to be expensive. So what do the two styles of White Bordeaux taste like?
White Bordeaux Taste, ginger, gooseberry, lemon, grass, grapefruit

Light & Fruity

This is the most readily available style of White Bordeaux. Expect big flavors and aromas of citrus, grapefruit, lemon, gooseberry and lime along with grass, freshly-wet concrete, honey, passionfruit and honeysuckle flower.

Rich & Creamy

This is the most highly sought-after style of White Bordeaux. These wines tend to be predominantly Semillon which offers a much richer, more oily feeling on the tongue than Sauvignon Blanc. Expect flavors of baked apples and pears, crème brûlée, carmelized grapefruit, orange zest, ginger, figs, lemon butter and even chamomile.


High-End White Bordeaux

Of the 5 most exalted producers of Bordeaux, only one makes White Bordeaux. Chateau Haut-Brion is more famous for its White Bordeaux than its red. High-end White Bordeaux from the sub-region of Pessac-Leognan are creamy and age nicely to 10 years.
See us open a bottle of Ch. Haut-Brion 1990


White Bordeaux Food Pairing

If there’s basil, lime, avocado or garlic in your food, you will enjoy a bottle of White Bordeaux.

Of all the Sauvignon Blancs in the world, White Bordeaux tends to be more citrus and floral vs. grassy and herbal. The acidity is not as high as Pouilly-Fumé (a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley) and the flavor is not as tropical or peachy as California Suavignon Blanc. Remember to be careful pairing White Bordeaux with overly acidic foods that will overshadow the wine.

Food Pairing Ideas

  • Arugula Salad with Lemon and Parmesan
  • Asparagus Risotto
  • English Pea Ravioli with Crab or Lobster
  • Angel Hair Pasta with Basil Pesto
  • Yellowtail Sushi with Avocado
  • White Fin Fish, such as Cod or Halibut, with Beurre Blanc


Bordeaux Wine Region Map

Bordeaux Map Wine Map

Want to Know More About Bordeaux?

White Bordeaux only makes up about 7% of wines sold from the region, the rest is red. While the region is famous for its high-priced collector wines, there are many superb values to be had. Here are some fascinating related articles:

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By Madeline Puckette
I'm a certified sommelier and creator of the NYT Bestseller, Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine. Find me at @WineFolly