Despite the fact that Bordeaux is a region in France, it can also be a designation for the wines produced there. In many cases Old World wines are named after the region rather than the varietals the wine is comprised of. This differs from most New World wines which are labeled primarily by the varietals.
A Bordeaux Blanc, or white Bordeaux, typically describes a blend of two or more grape varietals of the region which are predominantly Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon (Say-me-yon) and Muscadelle. Sauvignon Blanc comprises about 75% of Bordeaux’s dry white wines, while Sémillon is usually grown for sweet wines. Muscadelle plays a minor role in the region while more obscure varietals include Sauvignon Gris, Ugni Blanc (Oo-nee blonk), Colombard, Merlot Blanc, Ondenc (On-denc) and Mauzac.
Classic white Bordeaux blends tend to be pale gold in color and can be dry, semi-dry or sweet. These wines are commonly described as either Light and Fruity, which make up the majority of white Bordeaux blends, or Rich and Creamy, which are made specifically in the sub-region Pessac-Léognan (Peh-sac - leh-oh-nyahn) and are oftentimes more expensive. You can expect flavors and aromas of honey, citrus, spices and grapefruit from Light and Fruity blends where as Rich and Creamy blends contain full-bodied flavors and aromas of crime brûlée, baked apples, orange zest, figs and lemon butter.
Although the white varietals used to outnumber red Bordeaux grapes by a considerable amount, today only make up less than 15% of Bordeaux’s yearly wine production. We have featured Bordeaux Blanc, or white Bordeaux, in our International Wine Club.