This elegant Sauvignon Blanc is a relatively new addition to the supermarket’s shelves. But could it be the best Waitrose white Bordeaux?
Earlier this year, I visited Bordeaux’s Bar à Vin, which is run by the local wine council as a showcase for the region’s wines. Of course, reds garner most of the attention in Bordeaux, but I was still surprised to notice that only about ten percent of the wines on the menu were white.
The ratio’s slightly less extreme at Waitrose. Of the 43 Bordeaux wines on their website, seven are white (if you exclude the two white dessert wines from Sauternes). And, for a combination of quality and value, this Dourthe Terroirs d’Exception Roqueblanche is the best Waitrose white Bordeaux of the lot.
So… What On Dourthe Is A Terroirs d’Exception Roqueblanche?
Founded in 1840, Dourthe runs nine Châteaux in Bordeaux. Made, like most Bordeaux whites, from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, the company’s Terroirs d’Exception range is grown on particular types of soil in various terroirs. The name of this variety, Roqueblanche, comes from the limestone soil that refreshes the vines, resulting in a crisp minerality.
Roqueblanche, I’m told, means “white rock”. My A-level French tells me it should be “Roche Blanche”, but I’m clearly wrong. Ah, the anomalies of language. Maybe my grammar’s rusty. Or maybe French people just don’t like the way my version sounds. (*Dourthe have spelled the name of their own company wrong on their website, so who knows).
My appreciation for Sauvignon Blanc got a huge boost last year when I did a blind tasting involving five different Sauv Blanc styles by the New Zealand producer Saint Clair, who make wines for Waitrose. The quality and variety was impressive, and it utterly redefined my opinions of NZ Sauv Blanc. I’d put this Dourthe Roqueblanche in the same quality category as the Saint Clair.
The familiar Sauv Blanc aromas of fresh grass and lime are the first to emerge, but if left to open up for a few minutes… out comes the tropical fruit — in particular, passion fruit and guava. The label mentions blackberry bud, but I’m damn sure I don’t know what that smells like.
Despite 4-6 months ageing on the lees, it’s not noticeably yeasty in flavour. What you do get is an appealing minerality, a fresh, sharp citrus acidity and a lovely long finish.
Fruity, elegant and invigorating, this comes highly recommended, especially as a warm-weather pairing for fish, white meats and cheeses. Excellent value for money too, and proof that when it comes to Bordeaux, you shouldn’t write off the whites.
Dourthe “Terroirs d’Exception” Roqueblanche 2017 is available at Waitrose now for £9.49. 12% volume.
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