French Wines: Bordeaux White

The Bordeaux Blanc appellation covers all three growing areas, Médoc/Left Bank of the Garonne, Entre-Deux-Mers (although this term is used optionally only for white Bordeaux of this area), and the Dordogne/Right Bank, with the most whites coming from southern Médoc and Entre-Deux-Mers. Depending on the locale, the Bordeaux appellation can have any of these typical soil types: clayey-limestone (right bank near Libourne and Entre-Deux-Mers; siliceous soils with clay and calcareous elements; palus or marshy lands that are alluvial soil, rich, deep and heavy, found also in valleys; ‘graves’ soil made up of gravel, rolled quartz, and large grain soil (an excellent soil); and ‘boulbènes’, a soil made up of extremely fine siliceous elements that make a tight, beaten earth (not ideal soil). In general, it is not allowed since 1995 to use a varietal name on the main label for Bordeaux appellation wines, with the exception being the use of ‘sauvignon’ for whites as long as the letters are printed in smaller type, but in the same style and color as the appellation. These whites are marked by aromas of citrus and their flowers, often of grapefruit, with a stony, mineral body and vibrant acidity. The amount of body and mid-palate texture depends on the soil, more gravely typically yields lighter body and more aromatics, more clay and or limestone adds more mouth-feel as do higher percentages of Semillon and/or Muscadelle. These wines are notable for their exceptional balance and length.