Thursday, June 2, 2011

White and Rosé Bordeaux from Planet Bordeaux's Twitter Taste Live

This past May 20th, I participated in another even from the Planet Bordeaux group, facilitated by Balzac Communications. Since late last year, I've had the chance to sample through something like 20 bottles of red, white, and rosé wines from the geographical area of Bordeaux, France. Within that region, I've tasted wines classified as Bordeaux as well as Bordeaux Superieur. I wrote up the previous "Twitter Taste Live" where we (the San Diego Wine Mafia) sampled red wines from the Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur appellations.

I've also tasted singly, the following bottles:
2005 Domaine de Cantemerle
2008 Chateau Pey La Tour
2006 Chateau Lestrille
2006 Costes Du Chateau Feret-Lambert
2009 Chateau La Freynelle Bordeaux Rosé

A blogger's setup!
This recent tasting dealt with white and rosé wines from Bordeaux, and was a bit smaller at four bottles versus six or more. As with previous tastings, the point here is to showcase the fact that Bordeaux produces a lot of good wine at very reasonable price points. Planet Bordeaux is aiming to introduce Americans to the wide array of styles from the region in addition to helping shatter myths that there are only a few, super expensive wines from there.

1. 2010 Dourthe Grand Cuvée
100% Sauvignon blanc.

Smells like wet river stones, grassy, almost New Zealand-like. A hint of melon and tropical truit too. Someone tweeted about grapefruit but I'm not so sure I ever tasted it in this particular white Bordeaux. Brimming with bright acidity, this has nice balance and is everything I want in a sauvignon blanc from the region. It's got a clean flavor profile, with hints of minerals, lemon pith, some herbal notes too. I loved the clean, dry finish because it readied my palate for the next bite of food, in my case some cheese and crackers. It's a winner especially for $12. B and a BUY recommendation. 
The importer's information is: 
MHW, Ltd.
Marjorie Paraison
mparaison "at"

2.  2010 Chateau La Freynelle
50% Sauvignon blanc, 30% semillon, 20% muscadelle.

Richer, more lush characters on the nose than the first wine. Citrus blossom, hit of limestone, some ripe peach playing in the background.
A lot softer than the Dourthe, less acidity and more fleshy tones. Quite nice! There is a balance between the initial acidity as a lemon peel note, then it's followed by some nice floral elements and a hit of lemon curd that really adds dimension. And orange/citrus oil also comes through very strongly on the finish and that's absolutely delightful for me. B+ and STRONG BUY recommendation. $13
The importer's information is:
Young’s Market Company
custserv "at"

3. 2010 Chateau Ballan Larquette Rosé
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc

Gorgeous color! I think it's considered a "salmon pink" but one from a Silverbrite salmon versus something lighter. Hey, I work in a grocery store so I see various colored salmons come through. Not shopping per sé, but being shopped for.
Smells wonderful..strawberry tarte, crushed cherry, watermelon candy, hint of something like herbs. Barest trace of alcohol right at the end of the bouquet but that doesn't detract too much.
More fruit than I'd expect in a French rosé but that could indicate it pairs with food. Ripe strawberry and some cherry give weight through the mid palate. There is some acidity present and I'd love to see more of it as a foil to the bright sweet berries. Fleshy, rich for a rosé. Makes you think about what you are drinking and I respect that. B from me and a BUY recommendation. $16. 
The importer's information is:
Exclusive Imports
sales "at"

4. 2010 Chateau Fontenille Clairet
100% Cabernet franc with 3-4 days on the skins and partial saignée.

This baby looks like someone took a ruby and ran 20,000 volts through it then put it into my glass! 
Aromas like balsamic-glazed ripe strawberry and cherry mixed with earth. Hints of fireplace ash too, like you've burned the Christmas log all day and night. I absolutely loved how the nose made me want to take a sip, it was so alluring!

Delicious tasting, the acidity and that woody ash comes at you right away before receding and allowing some raspberries and herb to come out and play. As I sipped the Ch. Fontenille I marveled at the bright acid, keeping the sweeter, ripe red fruit elements in near-perfect balance. For reference, "clairet" is a light red wine, made in a different style  than a traditional rosé.  People need to get out and taste clairets to experience what is possible with different winemaking techniques and philosophies. B+ and a BUY recommendation. If you're a wine geek or someone who just enjoys exploring outside your comfort zone, the 2010 Chateau Fontenille clairet is something not to be missed. At $14 or so, it's a screaming deal. 
The importer's information is: 
D.B. Wine Selection Inc
Didier Boutet
didier "at"

At the end of the tasting, I stuck around for a little bit (in the chatroom) and talked to some Twitter friends, the consensus being that this is a fun, informative way to taste. Representatives were on hand from the various wineries to chat with us tasters and relay pertinent information. Mike, our moderator, did a great job of keeping us on track and moving through the wines. He's getting very good at these live-virtual tastings!

If you're reading through the tasting notes above and are interested in finding a wine listed, please by all means contact the distributors/importers, they can direct you to the right wine shop. I cannot stress enough that Bordeaux wines needn't be hugely expensive to be great quality. Price does matter, and each wine I sampled was under $20, making it a bargain! You could do a lot worse, especially with white wines and rosé.

These wines were sent as media samples by Balzac acting for Planet Bordeaux.

Beau Carufel


  1. Wow some nice price points on those wines. Thanks for sharing Beau.

  2. I agree Dan, the prices were surprisingly low! I think the wineries could get away with charging a lot more..but just keep that between you and I ;)