Must-Try Wine of the Week: Château Graville-Lacoste 2012 Graves Blanc, Bordeaux, France

Dry white Bordeaux has become an endangered species of late, due in no small part to lofty pricing, as well as heavy competition from Southern Hemisphere wines such as New Zealand’s sauvignon blanc. But there’s a difference in this case. First, this wine is amazingly affordable.  Second, it tastes nothing like a New Zealand sauvignon blanc, so you can easily put it into rotation with all of your other white wines. Or, put another way, you can have your cake and eat it, too!

The Graves (“grahv”) region of Bordeaux is on the left bank of the Garonne River, southeast of the city Bordeaux. Well known for its gravelly soils, the region includes the communes of Graves, Pessac-Leognan, and Sauternes, therefore is also known for having something of a trifecta of Bordeaux wines with its reds, dry whites, and sweet whites. It’s also home to first-growth Château Haut-Brion.

Aside from other (sauvignon) blancs of French origin, this Graves is different by virtue of its high percentage of sémillon. In fact, at 75 percent, it’s the majority of the blend, with the 20 percent sauvignon blanc and 5 percent muscadelle playing minor roles. In this wine, the sémillon provides the stuffing, the sauvignon blanc, the acids and structure, and the muscadelle, a touch of sweet melon to the final blend.

Although it’s dry on the palate, there is a definite sense of lovely sweet, ripe fruit in both the nose and mouth, making this Graves a great counterpoint to many higher-acid wines, such as most New World sauvignon blancs. Touches of melon and citrus flavors compliment almost any meal, from shellfish to sandwiches to fish or chicken in light sauces. Under $15; at the Wine Exchange.

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