It’s been a busy few days filled with travel and fun. Unfortunately that meant no time to write about my first Bordeaux Blanc experiment. Well, I’m back today and forcing myself to write up this review.
Full disclosure, I did not know there were white wines from Bordeaux until I embarked on this “VinoExperiment”. I was also introduced to varietals I’ve never had before such as Semillion and Sauvignon Gris. I really did not know what to expect when I tried this wine.
I went to my local Whole Foods with low expectations but was pleasantly surprised to find a few Bordeaux Blancs. Since I was traveling soon, I decided to buy just one bottle. I happened to zero in on the Chateau Vrai Caillou Entre-Deaux-Mers 2015 for the following reasons:
- Shelf-placement: This bottle was at eye level and placed next to Bordeaux reds
- Label: Bordeaux was clearly displayed
- Price: $13.99
Available information that did not factor into the purchase decision: 2015 vintage, Appellation d’Origine Protegee, wine blend (40% Semillon, 35% Sauvignon Gris and 25% Sauvignon Blanc) and 12.5% alcohol. T.Elenteny Imports was the importer of record.
I was curious about trying this wine at different temperatures and with food.
- Room Temp – Not the best, pear with a bit of citrus. A stronger alcohol taste than I expected.
- Fridge 2 hours, then allowed to warm up for about 15-30 minutes – Pear and citrus more pronounced. Crisp finish. It was good but nothing special. It reminded me of a Sauvignon Blanc with a bit more color.
We planned to have a beet, pear, spinach and goat cheese salad with balsamic vinegar dressing for dinner. I decided to try the wine with the salad components salad and then the fully assembled meal.
- Beets – Awful. The combination just did not go well. The beets tasted super earthy and the wine was tart.
- Pear – Muted. I felt like I was just getting a citrus aftertaste. It was not enjoyable.
- Spinach – Neutral – It did not pair but did not detract from the flavors.
- Goat Cheese – This combo paired very well. The goat cheese brought out more of the pear and citrus flavors in the wine.
- Balsamic Vinegar – I was surprised that this went well. My thinking was the vinegar would make the wine taste like it had gone bad. In reality, the wine tasted very crisp with citrus notes. It balanced out the wine very well.
- Fully assembled salad (Mostly spinach and beets. Light dressing of balsamic vinegar and a small dose of the goat cheese) – This was an excellent pairing. The balsamic vinegar and goat cheese, even in small amounts, really made the wine pair well with the salad.
The salad really made the wine more enjoyable. I was surprised how much the dressing and cheese impacted the pairing. I was in a happy place, although that could be due to the 2-3 glasses of wine. I decided to put a cork the wine and put it in the fridge. Note, the actual storage condition was in a fridge and corked with a rubber stopper under vacauum.
The wine held up very well, although I probably did not allow it to warm up enough. The pear flavor was a bit flat at first but grew more pronounced as the wine warmed up.
Expert Review vs. VinoExperiment
85 points Wine Enthusiast
“This is a crisp and fruity wine that’s perfumed and full of citrus and green fruits. It has a lively character that is filled out with the ripe fruitiness of the vintage. The aftertaste, bright and fresh, suggests it will benefit from another few months. Drink from summer 2016.”
I was pleasantly surprised, but not blown away with this wine. I did learn a few things. First, a lower temperature, not fridge temp, really does help the flavor profile of white wines. Second, the impact of dressing and goat cheese can be more influential on a wine pairing than the primary components. Finally, I need to try a few more Bordeaux Blancs. I think I have a base in my head now and I’d like to find out how others stack up.
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