Fri 24 Apr 2015

Remember Bordeaux Blanc: A Virtuous Sauvignon Circle

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Denis Dubourdieu at The Society

Professor Denis Dubourdieu has just been named Decanter magazine’s Man of the Year

While New Zealand has been responsible for bringing the sauvignon blanc grape to the attention of the wine-drinking world (for which Denis and his son Fabrice Dubourdieu tell us they are grateful!), the work carried out by Denis Dubourdieu at Château Reynon in the late 1980s has also had a global impact.

A professor of oenology as well as agronomist and winemaker, Denis Dubourdieu of Bordeaux properties Château Reynon, Clos Floridène and Doisy-Daëne, made Château Reynon his laboratory. Here he carried out pioneering work on the sauvignon blanc grape developing techniques such as skin contact and lees stirring, to make wines with more intensity and character.

Now these methods are routinely used by fellow winemakers around the world, helping to make sauvignon blanc a household name; the gin and tonic of our time, some have called it!

It’s no secret that white Bordeaux is not as popular as it once was, so can lovers of kiwi sauvignon blanc convert to Bordeaux Blanc? The Dubourdieus certainly believe so: ‘thanks to New Zealand everyone knows what sauvignon blanc is and has a rough idea of how it should taste. But sauvignon blanc needs to reinvent itself all the time or it can become boring and consumers can be like unfaithful lovers, they get bored if it is always the same! You need to offer something a little different to keep their interest.’

That Denis Dubourdieu has been named Decanter magazine’s Man of the Year comes as no surprise to those familiar with his work and the huge contribution that he has made to the world of winemaking.

sauvignon blanc grapesTurning lovers of kiwi sauvignons onto Bordeaux Blanc
It’s no secret that white Bordeaux is not as popular as it once was, so can lovers of kiwi sauvignon blanc convert to Bordeaux Blanc? The Dubourdieus certainly believe so: ‘thanks to New Zealand everyone knows what sauvignon blanc is and has a rough idea of how it should taste. But sauvignon blanc needs to reinvent itself all the time or it can become boring and consumers can be like unfaithful lovers, they get bored if it is always the same! You need to offer something a little different to keep their interest.’

Their Château Reynon Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (£10.50) appeals, they say, both to those that are a bit fed up with the OTT style of sauvignons and to chardonnay lovers at the same time. ‘Delicate with white-peach aromas, it is not too aggressive,’ says Fabrice, explaining how fermentation in large old oak casks and ageing on lees and in oak provide a natural, sugar-free sweetness to the flavour, yet impart no oak character.

Elegant and fragrant, it is easy to see how this wine could seduce and attract a roving eye. It’s the perfect aperitif or match for seafood and salads, sashimi or roe.

So if you enjoy sauvignon blanc, don’t forget about Bordeaux Blanc!

Joanna Goodman
News Editor

Categories : Bordeaux, France

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