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White Bordeaux. Part II

by Tom Cannavan, 2010

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on white Bordeaux wines.

the wines

Château Couhins-Lurton, Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2007
An all-Sauvignon Blanc cuvée, with beautifully mealy, refined notes of almond and lemon, with hints of flowers and wax. On the palate the fruit is intense and vital, the core of lemony acidity and firm, crunchy apple bite playing against discreet, well-handled oak. 92/100. £24.75, Bibendum Wines. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château La Garde Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2008
Arresting nose, the deep, sweet peach fruit and peach down finesse is ethereal, melding with mellow oak and crushed oatmeal. On the palate, subtle but generous tropical fruit, a big core of tangy grapefruit and a long, fine finish. 91/100. £23.00, Berry Bros & Rudd. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château Brown 2008, Pessac-Léognan
An elegantly oaked Sauvignon-dominated blend with biscuit and honey over cool melon fruit with a hint of green fig. The palate adds a ravishing lemony acidity, but the mid-palate is weighty and gutsy. 91/100. £30, Soho Wine Supply. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Clos Floridène, Graves Blanc 2007
Beautiful nose here, the oak obvious but of delightful quality, adding subtle honey and toast to burstingly ripe fruit and a hint of waxy green bean. The palate has tropical fruit verve, super-sweet on the mid-palate, yet racing through to the finish with lovely acidity. 91/100. £19.50, Berry Bros & Rudd. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Domaine de Chevalier, L'Esprit de Chevalier Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2007
The synthetic cork is a huge surprise in this second wine of Domaine de Chevalier, but the taut, subtle aromas are clear, with traces of Spring flowers and preserved lemon. Concentrated yet focused orange and mineral flavours out-power the oak in a long finish. 90/100. £21.00, Raeburn, Roberson, Corks Out. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Blanc de Lynch-Bages, Bordeaux Blanc 2008
The white wine from Château Lynch-Bages is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle aged in barrel, around 60% new. It has a vividly ripe, nectarine nose: the essence of smelling the skins of juicy ripe fruits, leading onto a palate with more of that character that is succulent and juicy, allied to crisp orangy acidity and a softening sheen of very well-managed, creamy oak. Distinguished stuff. 90/100. Around £27-£30, See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château de Rochemorin, Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2007
An all-Sauvignon Blanc wine with discreetly oatmeally notes, almond and an apple fruitiness. The palate is bright and vivacious, some toasty oak underpinning crisp citrus and juicy, crunchy apple and pear fruit. Deliciously drinkable but with ageing potential. 90/100. £14.99, Bibendum. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château L'Avocat, Graves Blanc 2007
A blend of Barrel-aged Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris gives lemon and fresh-cut grass on the nose, with a background of quite toasty, nutty oak. On the palate powerful and mouth-watering, with hints of tropical nectarine and lychee constrained by the acidity. 89/100. £13.15, Justerini & Brooks. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château du Seuil, Graves Blanc 2007
Barrel fermented Sémillon makes up 60% of the blend here. The nose is waxy and rich, with a lemon rind character. On the palate the definition of restraint despite bright fruit, with moderate concentration, effortless elegance and a refined, long finish. 89/100. £13.00, Virgin Wines. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château Rahoul, Graves Blanc 2007
Deep, Brazil nut and espresso notes make for a sensuous start to this 78% Sémillon wine, with ripe apple and little acacia honey nuances. Terrific verve on the palate with a lime fruit intensity, a touch of more exotic mango and a white fruit acidity sharpening the picture. 89/100. £20, Champagnes & Châteaux. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château Lafont Menaut Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2007
Made by Philibert Perrin of Château Carbonnieux, this 100% Sauvignon Blanc is very subdued, giving up its nutty, Cox's Pippin aromas very slowly. The palate has a huge core of mineral, almost liquoricy character and whilst the acidity is crisp, the overall appeal is savoury and lean. 88/100. £11.99, Booths. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Clarendelle, Bordeaux Blanc 2006
A little Muscadelle joins Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc in this wine from the Clarence Dillon family, owners of Château Haut-Brion. There's a leesy, pear skin richness on the nose, with bottle age giving the palate a dry, savoury appeal where nutty and mineral notes dominate. 88/100. £13.99, Averys. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Villa Bel-Air, Graves Blanc 2009
A wine from Jean-Michel Cazes, this blends 65% Sauvignon Blanc with 35% Sémillon has a fine, tight nose, with cool apple fruit and a touch of mint. Oak is judiciously placed in the background. On the palate there's a great core of pithy, dry, lemony fruit and acidity that is lean though juicy, with some orange and grapefruit adding succulence and quite a long finish. Concentrated and impressive. 88/100. Priced around £10.00 this is good value but has few stockists in the UK. Berry Bros 'Extrordinary White Bordeaux' is made by this estate. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Michel Lynch, Graves Blanc Reserve 2009
Handsome, broad-shoudered bottle for this partially oak-aged Sauvignon/Sémillon. The nose has a peachy softness, a touch of youthful pear-drop and nice sense of citrus freshness. On the palate this is balanced and precise, with the lemony clarity of the fruit given structure by good acidity and creamy oak. 87/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château Ducla, Experience XIV 2006 Bordeaux Blanc 2006
Based on the Sauvignon Gris, this has sweet vanilla, a touch of nettle and notes of nuts and seeds leading on to a palate that is still quite fresh and primary. The oak is perhaps a touch overdone, though the fleshy weight and boldness of the fruit does enough to match it. 87/100. £12.99, Averys. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château de Bonhoste, Bordeaux Blanc 'Prestige Cuvée' 2009
Bonhoste's top white has a powerful nose with toasty oak, lanolin aromas and a grapefruit note. On the palate the fruit is quite peachy, sweet and ripe, with a nice lemon and mineral crunch. Oak is a little prominent on the slightly short finish. 87/100. £13.99, Provenancewines.com. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château Roques Mauriac, Bordeaux Blanc 2009
A 60/40 blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Gris, with fresh, candied lemon and lime aromas and a dry, but nicely-pitched palate of grapefruit and a salty, mineral tang. Stylish and quite sophisticated. 87/100. £8.99, Virgin Wines. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château Bonnet, Entre-Deux-Mers Blanc 2009
This inexpensive Sauvignon-dominated wine from André Lurton typifies the modern face of 'everyday' white Bordeaux with its succulent pear and tropical fruit aroma, punchy, vibrant palate and crisply-defined finish. Intelligent, keen but easy to drink. 87/100. £9.00, Bibendum. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château de Bonhoste, Bordeaux Blanc 2009
Fresh, youthful pear drop and lemon nose that leads onto a punchy, full-flavoured palate where a nectarine sweetness is steered neatly towards the finish by citrus acidity. Dry and modern Sauvignon-style. 86/100. £8.99, Provenancewines.com. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château du Cros Bordeaux Sauvignon 2009
This Bordeaux Sec has a bright green hue and orchard fruit aromas that are quite subdued. On the palate it is a well tempered wine, with direct, lemony fruit and a nicely cool, stony quality, the compact, juicy fruit and apple acidity leaving it mouth-wateringly dry and tangy. 86/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château La Rose Bellevue, Côtes de Bordeaux Blanc 2009
A belnd of 85% Sauvignon Blanc with the balance Muscadelle, this has a juicy, ripe, peachy quality with little lychee and floral notes. On the palate it is clean and bright, with a lemon juice freshness to moderately ripe fruit with just a touch of herbal character too. A juicy and perky little wine. 86/100. £7.90, DrinksofFrance.co.uk.

Château Carbonneau, Saint-Foy Bordeaux Blanc 2009
This all-Sauvignon Blanc cuvée is showing the pear-drop aromas of its youth, with some lemon rind fruit beneath. On the palate quite a bold, modern and vivacious style with lots of tropical fruit hints, though a slightly hot finish. 86/100. £9.99, General Wine Trading Co. Hampshire. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Château La Rose Bellevue, Côtes de Bordeaux Prestige Blanc 2008
An oak aged blend of Sauvignon Blanc with 15% Muscadelle, this wine from Blaye has rather a lot of barrel showing, giving a Bourbon-like edge to the aromatics and I suspect low-level cork taint. On the palate it is lean and lemony,the finish rather short. Unfair to judge this sample I think. £8.95, DrinksofFrance.co.uk.

Go to our in-depth feature on white Bordeaux wines.