Bordeaux: The Other White Wine

Bordeaux is practically synonymous with the world's greatest red wines, but the region also produces some outstanding dry whites

It is no secret that the 2005 vintage produced extraordinarily long-lived, rich red wines that have become the darlings of speculators, investors, and wine consumers. Prices are already through the roof, and they will go only higher, as this year is considered by many to be a great, modern-day classic vintage for Bordeaux. Lost in all the hyperbole about the red wines is what remarkable progress Bordeaux has made with its dry whites, usually blends of sauvignon blanc and sémillon and perhaps a tiny quantity of fragrant, flamboyant muscadelle. The finest wines can age surprisingly well, and 2005 was a delicious vintage for these dry, crisp whites that often smell of fresh figs, white currants, crushed rocks, and tropical fruits. Here is a selection of my favorites in different price ranges.

91 points 2005 La Grande Clotte Bordeaux

Michel and Dany Rolland's beautiful generic Bordeaux admirably showcases their enviable talents. Lovely aromas of honeysuckle, wax, wheat thins, lemon oil, and pie crust-like scents emerge from this medium-bodied, fruity, well-delineated white. It should drink nicely for another four to five years. $35

91 points 2005 Reignac Bordeaux

As one might expect from proprietor Yves Vatelot, the 2005 Reignac is a superb effort exhibiting copious quantities of honeysuckle, citrus, lemon butter, and a touch of smoky oak. This serious, medium-bodied effort is meant to be consumed over the next four to five years. $35-$42

92 points 2005 De Fieuzal Pessac-Léognan

The 2005 Fieuzal offers up aromas of hazelnuts, lemon zest, white peaches, currants, and honeysuckle. Gorgeous acidity, a touch of creamy oak, and a full-bodied mouthfeel result in a Burgundian-style white Graves. Enjoy it over the next 20 years. $55-$65

92 points 2005 Malartic Lagravière Pessac-Léognan

Made in a beautiful, elegant, zesty style, the 2005 Malartic Lagravière offers copious quantities of honeyed grapefruit and other assorted citrus, crushed rock, spring flower, nectarine, and marmalade, as well as brilliant acidity and a bright, refreshing, mineral-dominated personality. It should evolve for 10 to 15 or more years. $50-$65

93 points 2005 Carbonnieux Pessac-Léognan

Beautiful aromas of white peaches, crushed rocks, candle wax, and lemon rind along with a touch of quince emerge from this medium-bodied, crisp, flavorful effort. Excellent acidity as well as a long finish suggest it will drink well for 10 to 15-plus years. $50

93 points 2005 Pavillon Blanc de Château Margaux Bordeaux

This stunningly rich 100% sauvignon blanc is drinking fabulously well at present, yet it has the potential to evolve for 15 to 20 more years. Waxy lemon oil, honeysuckle, nectarine, and subtle new oak characteristics are all present in this light gold-colored, long wine. $55-$60

95+ points 2005 Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Léognan

A stunningly rich, concentrated effort, the 2005 may be one of the finest whites Smith Haut-Lafitte has ever produced. It exhibits notes of honeyed oranges, honeysuckle, spring flowers, lemon grass, and melons. Gorgeous acidity, excellent concentration, and a beautiful texture result in an impressive, full-bodied wine to consume over the next two decades. $55-$70

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