Subscribe to our mailing list

 

HOURS
Normal Hours:
Mon 9-7
Tues-Sat: 9-7:30
OPEN VETERAN'S DAY

 

DELICIOUS, SALUMI-WORTHY ITALIAN CHILLABLE RED

GORGEOUS GEWÜRZTRAMINER

BEST BUYS
Good Wines for $5-$15

CAPOVILLA
OUTSTANDING GRAPPA

FAVARO ERBALUCE
Cool Italian White

SPECIAL BOTTLING
VACQUEYRAS "ORA"

CABERNET VALUE

AMAZING ALBARIÑO

CAB DRIVER'S CARmenere

SOULFUL RED RHÔNE

SURPRISINGLY GOOD TEN BUCK MERLOT

BIGFOOT CABERNET

COOL PORTUGUESE WHITE WINE

2007 VINTAGE CHAMPAGNE 

CIRO' BIANCO!

CHAMPAGNE DE
MERFY

A FIESTA OF A TEMPRANILLO

OBSCURE ITALIAN RED

CIÙ CIÙ
PECORINO

COOL VERDEJO

FLASHY RED BORDEAUX

NEW STONY SANCERRE

MAN, OH MAN, WHAT A WINE!

ELEVEN BUCK
AMADOR ZIN

STYLISH WASHINGTON MERLOT

SLEEPER of A CHARDONNAY

SUSSUDIO ???

SARDINIAN WHITE

REMARKABLE PINOT

LAKE COUNTY ZIN

STELLAR NEW ARTISAN RIOJA

NICE LITTLE PINOT $9.99

STONY RIESLING

MARSELAN...A HYBRID OF CABERNET & GRENACHE

CASTELÃO BARGAIN

STELLAR BLAUFRÄNKISCH ESTATE

CAMPANIAN DELIGHTS

COLORFUL ZIN

DOURO DYNAMITE

PORTUGUESE RED BARGAIN

GRAND SYRAH FROM AN UNUSUAL PLACE

WHITE BURGUNDIES OF NOTE

MARSANNE BARGAIN

CHERRYISH TUSCAN RED SALE $12.99

PROSECCO FOR ADULTS

BILLIONAIRE'S WINES UNDER $30!

BARGAIN WHITE BORDEAUX

PIERCINGLY GOOD
WHITE

TOP OF THE LINE
CREMANT

ANOTHER RULLY GOOD WHITE

RESERVE QUALITY RIOJA

BARBERA OF NOTE

SUPER VERONESE SALE $12.99

PIEMONTE'S GRAND VIN BIANCO?

DELICIOUS, FRESH ROSÉS

GREAT GRUNER VELTLINER

GOOD ELEVEN-BUCK CHIANTI

FLOWERY, CURIOUS RED

OLD FAVORITE KIWI SAUVIGNON IS BACK

OLD PATCH RED
ZIN BLEND

MONCUIT'S GRAND CRU CHAMPAGNE

HONEYED MUSCAT

SPICY 
GEWÜRZTRAMINER

Napa Valley Grape Info
2002

2010

Amazing FRENCH CIDERS

FIZZY LAMBRUSCO

 

 

HOME PAGE

AMERICAN WINES

CALIFORNIA PINOT NOIRS

RHONE WANNABEES

ZINFANDELS

SAUVIGNON BLANCS

MERLOTS

OREGON WINES

CALIFORNIA CHARDONNAYS

CALIFORNIA CABERNETS

RIESLING & GEWURZ

WASHINGTON STATE

CANADIAN WINES

Adventuresome  Wines

ROSÉS !!

FRENCH WINES
ALSACE
BEAUJOLAIS
RED BORDEAUX
WHITE BORDEAUX
RED BURGUNDY
WHITE BURGUNDY
RHÔNE VALLEY
THE FRENCH ALPS
SOUTH OF FRANCE

LOIRE


CHAMPAGNE

 

ITALIAN WINES
PIEMONTE

VALLE D'AOSTA

NORTHERN ITALY

CENTRAL ITALIA

TUSCANY

SOUTHERN ITALIA


SPANISH WINES
Spanish Sherry
& Other Delights


PORTUGUESE WINES

SWISS WINES

GERMAN WINES

AUSTRIAN WINES

ARGENTINA

CHILE

AUSTRALIA

NEW ZEALAND

SOUTH AFRICA

OBSCURE WINES

DESSERT WINES

CHAMPAGNES

HALF-BOTTLES

SPIRITS

CIDERS

BEER
Even Real "Bud"!

OTHER STUFF

WINE TASTING

WHAT'S OPEN


UPCOMING TASTINGS

TASTING RESULTS
  
NEWSLETTER

SHIPPING INFO

ETC.

 

TASTING REPORTS

HOW TO ORGANIZE A BLIND-TASTING

BLIND TASTING ARCHIVE

MY 2013 EURO WINE ADVENTURE BOOK

CHATEAU MONTELENA "DREAM TASTING"
January 2018

CHATEAU MONTELENA
VERTICAL


ALBA WINES EXHIBITION 2007

ALBA WINES EXHIBITION 2008

SCHRAMSBERG vs THE FAMOUS FRENCH

German Wine "Master Class" Tasting

UNIQUE VERTICAL TASTING OF VOLLRADS RIESLINGS
1945-2015


S & M FOR WINETASTING GEEKS

TEAR-WAH
TASTING

2017 SF
INTERNATIONAL
WINE 
COMPETITION

2016 SF
INTERNATIONAL
WINE COMPETITON

2015 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2014 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2013 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2012 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2011 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2010 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2009 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2008 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION
Periodically Amazing

2007 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION
The Nose Knows!

2006 SF INTERNATIONAL  WINE COMPETITION.
SPIT HAPPENS

2005 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION.

2004 SF WINE COMPETITION TASTING

The 2003 SF WINE COMPETITION

2002 SF WINE COMPETITION TASTING 

A Vertical Tasting of Nalle Zinfandels

 

 

ETC.

RANTINGS & RAVINGS

WINE ROADS of EUROPE

Food/Wine/Friends
A Photo Gallery

MASTER OF WINE ESSAY TOPICS

Old Bottles: A TASTE OF HISTORY

Bob's Venetian Diary

Bob's Paris Notes Updated Spring 2007

Wine Writer's Confession

NEW "CULT" WINERY

Some Restaurant Reviews

HOW TO SELL WINE.
Info For Brokers and
Wine Distributors.

HOW TO HOLD A TRADE TASTING

$100,000 WORTH OF WINE MARKETING ADVICE:  FREE!
Mainly for Foreign Vintners

MOLDY CORKS

Study Reveals Experts Taste More Than What's In the Glass!

OKANAGAN VALLEY WINE TOUR-2010

BRIAN'S 2005 SUMMER VACATION WITH UNCLE

Gerald's Tour de France 2006

GERALD'S TOUR DE FRANCE 2008

A TOUR OF PORTUGAL-2009

HOW TO SPEAK BETTER ITALIAN

PEDRONCELLI
90th ANNIVERSARY

PONZI'S 40th
ANNIVERSARY

VINITALY

ROOSEVELT'S 2005 CHILI COOK-OFF

ROOSEVELT'S 2007 CHILI COOK-OFF

Grape Goddess

Ross Bruce Birthday

ALESSIA DALL'U

FRANCESCA & CAROLA
CALLIGARO


CCIV

FAQs

BURLINGAME

Links

DRY WHITE BORDEAUX

Modernization of many cellars has brought increased interest to white wines from what is regarded by many wine connoisseurs as the "center of the wine universe."   When most wine drinkers think of Bordeaux, they think of red wine. 

There have been excellent dry white wines from Bordeaux, but a bit of technology has helped advance the cause and today there are many good values coming from even the "petite châteaux."  Given that there are thousands of wineries here,   an increase in the quality of white wine means consumers have an alternative to Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon wines from other parts of the wine world. 

Each estate has its own "recipe" for making white wine.  Some are predominantly Semillon, while others display intense Sauvignon Blanc characteristics.   There is a minor blending variety here called "Muscadelle de Bordelais" and a few other white grapes dot the countryside, including "Ondenc," "Mauzac" (the white grape responsible for the sparkling wines of Limoux), "Sauvignon Gris" and "Ugni Blanc" (known as Trebbiano in Italy and used for distillation in Cognac, just north of Bordeaux). 

Aside from the varietal "blend," another complicating factor is the use of wood.  Many small wines of Entre-Deux-Mers are vinified exclusively in stainless steel.  At the other extreme, some estates ferment their wine exclusively in 60-gallon oak barrels.  Then there's the issue of a secondary, malolactic fermentation.  Some wineries do.  Some don't. 

We have but a limited number of wines from this region.  But we've got a wide range of styles and prices for you. 


Some Recommended Wines:



 
CHATEAU TOUR de MIRAMBEAU
Our "scout" in the Southwestern part of France comes up with some wines which have great appeal to those of us who enjoy drinking well and paying little.  Mirambeau is a property that's been in the Despagne family for more than 250 years.  The current proprietor graduated from the local wine school in Bordeaux and then set out for South America and South Africa to gain perspective on winemaking.  
 
It's said that Jean-Louis and Odile Despagne moved into the little mill the day after their wedding in 1769!  So this place has been in the family for 8 generations.

The property is in the town of Rauzan (not related the the Left Bank Rauzan estates in Margaux, by the way) and this is about a 30 minute ride from Libourne, the major city that's the hub of the famous regions of Pomerol, St. Emilion and Entre-Deux-Mers.

These days the main man is Thibault Despagne and his partner-in-wine is Basaline Despagne, his sister.  
They're a dynamic duo and hell-bent on making top quality wines capable of being compared to prestigious wines from around the world.

We've followed their wines for many years and can say the wine from the Tour de Mirambeau estate are routinely good and in the case of the Cuvée Passion bottlings, they're below-the-radar bargains.

They make a handful of Mirambeau bottlings, along with wines from their several other estates.

There's been a nice progression in terms of quality and style, though we suggested that Despagne use a tad more wood in some of the wines.  Like so many vintners, they discovered a barrel ages ago and used it enthusiastically.  Then they began to pull back on the oak and while they appreciate the fruit in the wines, sometimes vintners employ less wood than their customers would like.  


We had encouraged Thibault to use the Pessac-Léognan white wine of Smith Haut Lafitte as a model.  Our advice was to intensify the character of the Sauvignon Blanc in his special bottling called Cuvée Passion.  

The 2015 Bordeaux Blanc with the Cuvée Passion label is a real winner!
It's approximately 70% Sauvignon Blanc with 30% Sémillon.  This vintage there's intensely citrusy Sauvignon up front and mildly woodsy notes framing this.
Dry, medium-full bodied, but not heavy.
It's a really showy dry white and well-priced.

 


They make a nice Entre-Deux-Mers, too.

The local importer has not brought that in for a few years, but the 2017 we tasted in Europe in early 2018 was very fine.

.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Currently in stock:  
2015 Tour de Mirambeau "Cuvée Passion" Bordeaux Blanc  $21.99
 


Thibault in 2018 showing off his lovely new vintage of white wine.

 


CHÂTEAU SAINTE-MARIE
This modest-sized estate is on many "experts" list of top sources for good Entre-Deux-Mers. The property is owned by Gilles Dupuch and his son Stéphane is now in charge of the place.

The vineyards are of varying ages, the oldest vines on this 45 hectare estate being about 100 years old.  Cattle ranching had been the main focus of many of the estates in this neighborhood, but only the recent decades have vines supplanted cattle.  

Stéphane Dupuch's uncle bought the estate in 1956 and his father left a lucrative insurance business to get dirt under his fingernails.  For "dad," the business was more of a hobby.  For Stéphane, it's a way of life.  Though most Americans know the white wines of Entre-Deux-Mers, estates such as this actually have more land devoted to red varieties.  Dupuch recently cleared some forest land and planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot.  This site will be a "Premières Côtes de Bordeaux." 
We saw Stéphane in Europe in March of 2018 and he is now making Syrah!
Can you imagine someone growing Syrah in Bordeaux!


Saint-Marie's excellent Entre-Deux-Mers is cropped to a rather modest level, producing about 42 hectoliters per hectare.  The wine is Sauvignon Blanc, predominantly, with a fair bit of Sémillon and a bit of Muscadelle.  The wine even gets a bit of skin contact, though Stéphane has reduced that from 24 hours to about 15, or so.  The 2016 is delicious and a nice alternative to some Loire Valley Sauvignons.  It's dry, mildly citrusy and thoroughly delicious.

  

MORE PHOTOS OF OUR FRIENDS, THE DUPUCH FAMILY.
 
Currently in stock:  2016 Château Sainte-Marie Entre-Deux-Mers $14.99 



 


Stéphane showing off new vintages.

 
 

 

 




 



CHÂTEAU SMITH HAUT-LAFITTE
The Cathiard family has been running this estate since 1990 when Daniel Cathiard, a former member of the French ski team, sold his business interests in a grocery company and bought Smith Haut-Lafitte.

The property had been well-regarded, but was an under-achiever in those days.  Not anymore!

These days the vines are farmed organically

The white wine of this property is highly regarded by those who appreciate Sauvignon Blanc.  In fact, the white wine vineyards are about 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and the rest Sémillon.  
The vines are close to 40 years of age.

The hand-harvested grapes go into small picking boxes to not damage them...the grapes are crushed and the juice is cold-settled before being racked into barrel.
Fifty percent of the juice is fermented in brand new French oak barrels which are made on the property, not purchased from an outside cooperage.  The wine is stirred periodically, a process called "battonage."


The 2014 is striking and intense.  We're big fans.  It used to be more affordable and we'd put it on the dinner table to impress our friends.  Now it costs so much that it's a bit of a splurge, but one we make occasionally.    If you need a spiffy bottle for a fancy menu, especially seafood, do consider this.  It's superb.
 
 

Currently in stock:  
2014 Château Smith Haut-Lafitte  SALE $119.99



Smith Haut Lafitte has its own cooperage.
They mature the wood outdoors for several years so it dries out nicely...then they build their own barrels.

 

 



CHÂTEAU FIEUZAL
The Fieuzal estate has a very good reputation and its white wine, I've found, generally to be superior to its red.  They have about 75 hectares of vineyards with ten of those being devoted to white wine production.

The property is located in the Pessac-Léognan region.  It came under new ownership in 2001, a fellow who was chairman of Allied Irish Banks, Monsieur Lochlann Quinn, is the proprietor these days.  But ages ago it was owned by the Fieuzal family and it's had a succession of owners.
It had been owned by the Gardères family prior to the Fieuzals.  When the Fieuzals sold the estate in the early 1850s, the property was split in two, with half being called Fieuzal and the other Haut Gardères.
In 1994 a bank purchased Fieuzal and a year later they bought the neighboring Haut Gardères property, thus reuniting the estate.

Quinn and his wife Brenda are wine aficionados and they're worked hard to make Fieuzal a highly-respected estate for both red and white.

In 2007 they brought on a new winemaker named Stephen Carrier and he's made changes not for the purpose of being more cost-effective, but for improving wine quality.  They remodeled the fermentation and aging cellars under Carrier's guidance.

The Quinns are friendly with the owner of the famed St. Emilion estate, Château L'Angélus and he's somewhat of a consultant or adviser.

I recall them reportedly having equal plantings of Sauvignon and Sémillon, but these days they have 70% of the white wine vineyards planted to Sauvignon Blanc with 25% to Sémillon and 5% to Muscadelle.

The white wine goes into about 40% new French oak and remains in barrels for 12 to 16 months, or so.  This routinely has a nice impact from the oak and the 2015 was amongst the showiest of the white wines from that vintage.  
Typically Fieuzal had been rather leesy and smoky, but under Carrier's tutelage, the wine displays brighter fruit intensity with a mildly woodsy note. 



Currently in stock:  2015 CHÂTEAU de FIEUZAL Pessac-Léognan BLANC SALE $59.99

 

 

 

 




CHÂTEAU CARBONNIEUX
This is a large vineyard and its white wine is one of the easier-to-find whites from the Pessac-Léognan region.   The estate has an interesting history, having been first owned by the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Saint-Croix in Bordeaux.  Wine from the estate is said to have been known by Thomas Jefferson who gifted the owner with a pecan tree that is supposedly still on the property.  It was smuggled to the old Turkish city known ages ago as Constantinople.  Despite the Islamic rule, the wine was so pale in color, it was labeled as "Eau de Carbonnieux" and masqueraded as some special French "water."

The label, as you may be able to see here, has a design reminiscent of the shell of a sea scallop.  We've heard this is because there's sea shell-like fossils in the gravelly vineyard, but  a source in Bordeaux claims it's a symbol for those making the pilgrimage on the trail of Santiago de Compostela.  Saint Jacques...Santiago...Coquilles St. Jacques.

The estate was adversely impacted by the killer frost of 1956 and the property was acquired by a family named Perrin (not the same people who own the Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate of Beaucastel).
Today the grandchildren of the original Perrins, Eric, Christine and Philibert, run the property.

The estate covers some 170 hectares with about 95 hectares of vineyards.  

Partly due to its easy availability, the wine has been a bit of an ambassador for the Pessac-Léognan region.  Through the 1990s I'd found the wine to be a bit of an under achiever, frankly.

Today I find the wine to be good, though I usually prefer the Fieuzal or Smith Haut Lafitte whites.  Of course, those tend to be more expensive than Carbonnieux...

I've found, though, over the past decade, the wine seems to be getting better.  Perhaps it's due to vine age, perhaps it's due to the increased experience of the winemaker and château owner.  The Perrin family (not the famous Beaucastel Perrins, by the way) owns this estate and they've operated it since 1956.  

They'll tell you the vineyards are comprised of numerous little parcels...something like 119 of them.
Sauvignon Blanc comprises about 65% of their white wine vineyards and these are typically on deep gravel soils, though there are some plots on finer gravel with clay and limestone.

The Sémillon is on clay and limestone and those comprise about 45% of the white vineyards.  

The 2014 vintage was challenging, but ultimately produced a pretty good wine.  It's 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Sémillon.  
 
I understand they have been doing a pre-fermentation period of skin contact for the white wine of Carbonnieux.  It used to never see any wood and its rather intense, weedy Sauvignon aromas were a bit crude without some time in oak.  Now the wine spends a bit of time in wood and they even leave it on the spent yeast and stir this sediment to create a smoky, toasty element in the wine.  The wine is less 'green' and less herbal than it was, say, a decade ago.  Now they capture more of a citrus and mildly grassy tone with a hint of melon-like fruit.  The wood is well in the background here.

The 2014 is very nice and a wonderful accompaniment to simple seafood dishes.
 
Currently in stock:  2014 CHÂTEAU CARBONNIEUX Pessac-Léognan White  SALE 44.99
 





CHATEAU LESTRILLE CAPMARTIN

This is a smallish estate not far from St. Emilion and Pomerol.

We've had their terrific red wines for a number of vintages and these have been reliably good and remarkably good values.  

The past few years their white wine has become a shining star, too.

The property has been in the Roumage family for 5 generations, dating back to 1901.  In 1980, Estelle Roumage's father began bottling wine and offering it for sale to private customers.

Estelle came on board in 2001.  She had spent time in Madrid during her school years and learned Spanish, as she prepared to head to Chile to study their New World winemaking.  She met her husband in Spain and never did venture off to South America.

She did, however, manage to do some espionage in New Zealand and this may explain the style and high quality of the white wine at Lestrille.

The property had but 2 hectares of white grapes when we first started buying their wines and today they have 10 hectares devoted to their "Vin Blanc" program. 

The 2016 Entre-Deux-Mers has a great fragrance to it...lots of citrusy Sauvignon aromas waft from the glass and it's dry and fresh.  The blend is 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Muscadelle.  It's perfect with seafood as you might imagine looking at the accompanying photo above.

Delicious and priceworthy.

Currently in stock:  2016 LESTRILLE-CAPMARTIN Entre-Deux-Mers  $11.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHÂTEAU DE LIONNE

Veronique Smati has owned this small estate since 2007.  It's located in the Graves appellation town of Illat, a little village housing about 1200 people.  It's less than 6 kilometers from Sauternes and it's a half hour ride in the car south of estates such as Haut-Brion and Smith Haut Lafitte.

They have about 38 hectares of vineyards...there are seven hectares of white grapes..  Smati is working on converting the vineyard to organic farming and is close to getting certification of that.

The wine is vinified in stainless tanks and they stir the yeast sediment on a regular, frequent basis which gives the wine and mildly toasty character. Sauvignon Blanc dominates, though there's a nice percentage of Sémillon in the blend. 

 It's dry and medium-bodied.  We like the citrusy notes on the nose and palate.

Currently in stock:  CHÂTEAU DE LIONNE GRAVES BLANC  $17.99

 

 

 

 

CLOS FLORIDÈNE

This splendid white Bordeaux comes from the Graves region in a town that's quite close to Barsac (where sweet wines reign supreme).

Clos Floridène is one of several estates owned by the Dubourdieu family.  The late Denis Dubourdieu and his wife Florence (they cobbled together their first names and came up with Floridène) have a little business that's aided by their two sons, Jean-Jacques and Fabrice.  

Dubourdieu was named as Decanter magazine's man of the year in 2016.  He worked tirelessly as a consultant to many top estates in Bordeaux (said to be 80+ wineries), including Château d'Yquem, Château Margaux and Château Cheval Blanc.

He was a professor of enology at the University of Bordeaux and published hundred of research papers.  Dubourdieu is credited with changing the face of Bordeaux's white wines from dull and flat to crisp and aromatically vibrant.  

Located in Pujols sur Ciron, less than ten minutes by car to Sauternes estates such as Suduiraut and d'Yquem, the Clos Floridène wine is a dry white wine, not sweet.

The soil bedrock is limestone and on top you'll find "Barsac Red Sand" as the locals call it.
The Floridène vineyards cover about 40 hectares, with slightly more than half being devoted to white wine production.

More than half the vineyards are Sémillon, with 48% Sauvignon Blanc and 1% Muscadelle.  
The wine routinely gives the more costly bottlings from the famous estates in Pessac-Léognan a run for the money.

Though we've read about Dubourdieu's aversion to oak, we've found his Clos Floridène white wine to display a moderately toasty character which we associate with a wood barrel.  

The 2015 is mildly woodsy and there's a glorious fragrance reminiscent of peach, ripe melon and citrus.  Add in the toasty elements and you've got a rather complex and showy bottle of wine.  This vintage is said to be 52% Sémillon and 48% Sauvignon Blanc.  No Muscadelle this vintage.

It had certainly been a good calling card for the late Dubourdieu as other wineries hired him to help make a wine of such style, grace and complexity (often at significantly higher prices).

Currently in stock:  2015 CLOS FLORIDÈNE Graves Blanc  $29.99


The late Denis Dubourdieu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

winepour.gif (12696 bytes)Wine Tasting Today

TO INQUIRE ABOUT A WINE:  
 
Copyright © 1999    WEIMAX  November 13,  2018