Bordeaux’s white wines have been undergoing a quiet renaissance over the past few years and if you enjoy white wine I seriously recommend that you try some. Historically white wine was very important to Bordeaux and before the Second World War most of the wine produced there was actually white. Up until the 1970s the white grape Semillon was the most planted grape in Bordeaux. How times have changed! Merlot is now the most planted grape and Bordeaux’s red wines have eclipsed their white cousins. However change is afoot.
In the mid 1980s Bordeaux white wines captured the interest of a heavy weight in the wine world: Denis Dubourdieu. Dubourdieu is a Professor of Oenology at the University of Bordeaux, a wine maker and co-manager at several leading estates. He instigated new wine making techniques for Bordelaise white wines that allowed more flavours and aromas to develop and is now hailed as the grand master of the rebirth of Bordeaux’s white wines.
Since then Bordeaux white wines have been making a comeback as more people have switched on to their elegance, vivacity and complexity. Figures from the CIVB (Bordeaux wine Bureau) for 2012 show demand by volume for Bordeaux’s white wines rose in 2012, compared to 2011, by 6%.
Their trademark is their beautiful balance and they also offer good structure, and age-worthiness. Some express vibrant, crisp minerality and others show more fruit, depth and mouthwatering juicy acidity. Some are aged in oak whereas others are not and the grapes used in the blends are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscadelle and occasionally Sauvignon Gris.
Richly perfumed, bright, fresh and dangerously quaffable these are food friendly wines that can accompany a wide range of dishes. I paired 3 lovely Bordeaux whites Mushroom Stuffed Trout and my recipe and recommendations are below:
Mushroom Stuffed Trout
400g, 14oz chestnut mushrooms, washed and quartered
2 tsp olive oil and extra for brushing
1 shallot or small onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 rainbow trout, cleaned and gutted
5 sprigs of dill, 1 chopped
2 – 3 sprigs of parsley chopped
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Put the mushrooms in a food processor and blend until finely minced. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until tender, then add the mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes until the juices have evaporated and the mixture is dry. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir the chopped herbs into the mushrooms mixture and remove from the heat.
Wipe the fish dry and trim as necessary. Cut four pieces of baking parchment big enough to wrap each fish in. Place a fish in the centre of each piece and spoon the mushroom mixture into the cavity of each one, pressing it in and patting the body of the fish back over the stuffing. Brush lightly with oil and lay the lemon slices and a sprig of dill on each. Wrap in the parchment, sealing well so that the fish steams inside. Microwave each one on full power for about 4 minutes. (Microwaves vary so check your manufacturers instructions for precise cooking details).
Serve with fresh vegetables and new potatoes.
Chateau Ballan Larquette 2011 £8.99
A blend of 50% Semillon and 50% Sauvignon Blanc: An elegant wine with good structure, acidity and balance – and a long finish. Light, bright and thirst quenching. Ballan Larquette has notes of lime, apple, white peach and pear with a hint of chalky minerality, honeysuckle, dried herbs and sweet hay.
Chateau Mayne Pargade 2010 £8.45
A blend of 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc: A truly delicious white wine. Very aromatic with notes of sweet summer hay, fragrant broom blossom and beeswax. This wine has good crisp acidity, great structure and balance with flavours of pear, quince and lime.
Chateau Le Rondailh 2011 £9.45
A blend of 20% Semillon and 80% Sauvignon Blanc: A wine packed with character, pure, fresh and well balanced, it has flavours of ripe pears, lemon, lime flowers and red gooseberries with subtle nuances of melon, minerality and passion fruit.