Wines from Europe are often intimidating to the average US consumer. Sometimes it’s due to perceived cost concerns, other times it’s due to confusion over labeling. The truth is that there are a lot of great wines from all over Europe that are very reasonably priced and offer similar quality to price ratios as new world counterparts do. Today I’m going to look at a white wine from the Bordeaux region of France. This 2006 Clarendelle Blanc Bordeaux is a blend of Sémillon (46%) Sauvignon Blanc (44%), and Muscadelle (10%). The suggested retail price for this wine is $19.95.
Aromas of lemon zest and orange blossom are both prominent in the nose of this wine. Citrus continues through the palate. It's joined by tropical fruit such as mango, guava and kiwi. Honeydew emerges as well and carries through the finish which has a nice edge of creaminess and a host of appealing spice notes, notably white pepper. This wine is impeccably balanced and features good acidity. I paired this White Bordeaux with a crostini topped with caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms and a triple creme cows milk cheese. It was a tremendously satisfying match. This wine also drinks nicely on its own.
Two things most impress me about this wine. The level of complexity in the price range is one thing. Layers of flavor emerge as you let this wine wash over you. It’s important to note that while this wine should definitely be chilled, avoid over chilling it. Many of the nuances are lost if this is served too cold. Cellar temperature of approximately 55 degrees works very well. The other thing that impressed me is how seamless of a blend this really is. Certainly benchmark qualities of each varietal shine through, but more than that they come together to form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. A very nice White Bordeaux and a very well priced one at that. If you’re drinking new world Sauvignon Blanc or similar style blends try the Clarendelle out, you might be surprised by what a terrific value it is.