Sometimes overlooked in favour of the English love-affair with red Bordeaux, the white wines of Bordeaux are worth looking out for.
Often made from a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grape varieties, perhaps with a touch of Muscadelle, there are some superb wines made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
They are different from Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, such as Sancerre or Pouilly Fumé and very different from the New Zealand wines from that variety. The Bordeaux wines are more restrained, with a certain elegance and freshness.
One such wine is made by the excellent Bordeaux house, Dourthe. Their Sauvignon Blanc Dourthe No.1 celebrates its 30 th birthday this year and the 2017 vintage shows no sign of losing its freshness, which was a prime objective 30 years ago.
The wine came into being as a result of a research project between the world-famous wine-maker Denis Dubourdieu and Dourthe, back in the 1980s.
The idea was to create a top quality, fine Sauvignon Blanc at an everyday price, and at the time was a new style of white Bordeaux wine.
The project resulted in significant levels of investment in both winery and vineyards, which, together with commitment from a number of growers, resulted in a wine which had immediate success on international markets. 30 years on, the Dourthe vineyards now extend to over 500 hectares – over 1250 acres.
Dourthe No.1 has a very distinctive style and defined personality, resulting from top quality grapes and first-class wine-making. The strong relationships with the growers guarantees optimal fruit quality, which is consistent year after year. The aromatic intensity of the grape variety is preserved and through ageing and blending in the Dourthe cellars, a harmonious, stylish wine is produced, with remarkable quality.
Dourthe set new standards for wine-making in Bordeaux and continue to be innovative leaders in this field. Dourthe No.1 is now exported to over 50 countries around the world, in diverse cultural communities in the Americas, Asia and Europe.
It has become a benchmark for consumers over the course of thirty years and is the epitome of pure Bordeaux value. As Dourthe say themselves “Throughout the entire 30 years, Dourthe has stayed true to the objective it once set: reward the consumer with the pleasurable experience to be expected from a great Bordeaux wine with every bottle of Dourthe No.1, at an affordable price.”
This is a white wine which should be on everybody’s list. It has great fruit on the palate and aromatic complexity on both nose and palate.
Medium body, with great balance and elegance and a refreshing finish.
Top flight Sauvignon from the pioneers of modern Bordeaux wine-making.
Fabulous value at £8.50 from The Wine Society. Become a Dourthe disciple and spread the word!
Richard Esling BSc DipWSET is an experienced wine consultant, agent, writer and educator. An erstwhile wine importer, he runs a wine agency and consultancy company called WineWyse, is founder and principal of the Sussex Wine Academy, chairman of Arundel Wine Society and is an International Wine Judge. Follow him on Twitter @richardwje or visit www.winewyse.com.