Here’s four white Bordeaux wines to try at Christmas

white Bordeaux wine reviews

Think of Bordeaux and you’ll probably think of red wines for your Christmas table …. but don’t overlook white Bordeaux wines.

White Bordeaux is fantastic with seafood – so if you’re thinking of a seafood starter for your Christmas dinner (or any time of year!) then it’s not rocket science to pour one of these wines.  They can be fab with turkey too.

Marc Medeville, Vice president of the Syndicat Viticole des Bordeaux et Bordeaux Supérieur  says: “Most people think of red Bordeaux at Christmas, but we hope British consumers will feel inspired to try something different and give the region’s white wines a go this year with their festive menu.”

If you like sauvignon blanc, then you can’t go far wrong. There’s sémillon grapes too, and a handful of other varieties including muscadelle, colombard and ugni blanc (though they’re used much less.).

The French rarely label their bottles with grape varieties, but if you see wines from Entre Deux Mers then you’ll be bang on the money. Taken literally, it’s an area “between two seas”. It’s not two seas at all, but the Dordogne and Garonne rivers.

Here’s a handful of  white Bordeaux choices

Sainsburys Roc St Vincent review
Sainsburys Roc St Vincent

Roc St Vincent Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (£8, Sainsbury) is crisp and elegant, with grapefruit and zesty citrus flavours which tip-a-tip-tap at your tastebuds, making your mouth water.

Mouton Cadet Sauvignon blanc review
Mouton Cadet Sauvignon Blanc

Mouton Cadet Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (£9.99, Ocado) is sharp, grassy and citrussy, but I prefer M&S Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (£8.50) with lemons and gooseberries on the nose and to taste a vibrant cleansing freshness.

M&S Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc review
M&S Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc

Dourthe la Grande Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc (£8.99 Waitrose) is what it says on the vin, 100% sauvignon blanc which was feminine, with peaches, a wave of flowers in a breeze, and a good balanced acidity. Really lovely.

Dourthe la Grande Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc review
Dourthe la Grande Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc

You can find a good list of whites at Everyday Bordeaux’s The wines were tasted by a panel from the Association of Wine Educators.

Here’s two of their star dry whites; and also a white from Sainsbury which received a “thumbs-up”.

Château Martinon (The Wine Society, £7.50) mainly sémillon with sauvignon blanc, sauvignon gris and muscadelle; Le Grand Chai Réserve 2011 (£8.99, reduced from £13.99) from the International Wine Challenge Merchant of the Year,, which is a blend of sauvignon blanc and sémillon; and finally, from Sainsbury, Chateau Le Bernet Graves (£9) which is another blend of sauvignon blanc and sémillon.

Christmas Day wines which might float your gravy boat

Christmas Day wines and trimmings

I love Christmas Day trimmings … sprouts in butter with bacon and lemon; golden roast potatoes; creamy mash; buttered carrots; sweet melting crunches of parsnip; a button-mound of stuffing; pigs in blankets, cuddling a bread sauce cushion, which in turn is gently nudged by a teardrop of cranberry sauce.

I’m so hungry now.

You might favour turkey, beef, or goose, or a special veggie centrepiece with all those wonderful trimmings. Whatever your choice, it would be daft to pour something horrid into a glass after taking care to make all of the flavours on your Christmas plate perfect. Here are some Christmas Day wines to get you thinking for the Big Day, even if you choose to ignore them.

Before that, some sparkles. (You know me.)

Sainsbury Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Sainsbury Blanc de Blancs Champagne

Sainsbury’s Blanc de Blancs
(£22.50) has just been voted “best buy” supermarket Champagne in Which? magazine’s annual sparkling taste test. A frizz-frazz huzzah of fine bubbles, with biscuit and brioche aromas and bright citrus flavours with apple and a shy hive of honey. Open this for family as they arrive on Christmas Day or save it to wrap presents, watch The Great Escape and have an occasional fizzy hiccup.

Whites might be your choice. Rich Burgundy whites, chardonnays with deep creamy oak character, are a good bet; but my pals don’t like them.

Wolf Blass SIlver Label Chardonnay
Wolf Blass SIlver Label Chardonnay

So for something more subtle and light, Wolf Blass Silver Label Chardonnay (£12.99, Tesco) has layers of citrus and some minerality. Yes, it has some oak, but it’s not heavy and gloopy. It has enough in its flavour armoury to stand on the Main Course Battlements and take on the parsnips, stuffing and cosy piggy blankets and come out reasonably unscathed.

Here’s a white worth seeking out because I’m sharing the love. Morrisons Signature Grüner Veltliner (£6.99) won Gold at last week’s International Wine Challenge gongs and if you’ve not tried this apple-bright grape then why are you waiting. It will probably survive a turkey, but not a richer meat, and will brighten up a veggie main.

Morrisons Signature Grüner Veltliner
Morrisons Signature Grüner Veltliner

On to a deep pink. Brown Brothers Explorer Tarrango 2014, (RRP £7.99 Tesco, Sainsbury’s) is an Australian grape and a new one on me. It will take a little chilling, so pop it outside the back door on Christmas morning. (The fridge is for important things like Champagne, double cream and Boxing Day piccalilli.)

Brown Brothers Explorer Tarrango
Brown Brothers Explorer Tarrango

This wine is a deep magenta, and has an intriguing nose of earth, redcurrant and pepper. With cranberries and more pepper to taste. It might tumble out of the bottle fairly quickly as you eat.

Here’s some quick-fire reds to float your gravy boat.

The Exquisite Collection Fleurie Aldi
The Exquisite Collection Fleurie, Aldi

The Exquisite Collection Fleurie (£6.49, Aldi) has soft tannins which won’t start a tastebud fight before the Queen comes on, but has peppery bramble flavour spikes to wink at the trimmings.

Sainsbury Taste the Difference Languedoc Rouge
Sainsbury Taste the Difference Languedoc Rouge

Taste the Difference Languedoc Rouge, (Sainsbury, reduced from £8 to £6 until January 1) is a blend of syrah, grenache and carignan, a cheeky grape trio which isn’t backward in coming forward. This wine is full of black fruit flavours, soft with vanilla and speckled with pepper and dunked with memories of French summer sun.

Tesco finest* Viña Mara Rioja Crianza
Tesco finest* Viña Mara Rioja Crianza

If you like rioja, then Tesco finest* Viña Mara Rioja Crianza (£7.99) is a decent starter for ten. Cherries charm and pepper prickles while clothed in a winter warming vanilla overcoat. This is one for a main with meaty oomph.

Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir
Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir

I’ll be going for pinot noir on Christmas Day. Earthy, fruity, spicy, light – just like me in my 20s. I’ve had a mini pinot noir taste-off; opening Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir, (RRP £19, Majestic, Ocado,,, Rollings Wine Company) and Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2013 (RRP £12.99, Asda, Co-op, Morrisons and independents).

Both are New Zealand, both with a fab reputation. I’m a huge Villa Maria fan, but for me the Widow edged it. It’s a smoky red fruit delight, with a bright-light squint of acidity and a juicy finish. It might be a widow but it shouldn’t be left on the shelf.

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Published in the saturday extra magazine December 13, 2014 

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