Another retro-cool Sauvignon Blanc for the Summer


Mouton Cadet Vineyard: image provided by Eviva Communications.

Earlier this year, I wrote an article on these pages about Bordeaux Blanc. As we move into the height of summer, it's time to revisit this wine style and to chill out with a glass of retro cool!

Bordeaux is one of the most famous wine producing regions in the world and perhaps will always be better known for its iconic reds. However, although white wine production is only about 11% of overall volume, it is entirely relevant for today's market, especially when we are all shaking out our pockets for some loose change. With this in mind, Bordeaux Blanc must be one of the more underrated and incredibly good value wine styles around. Using Sauvignon Blanc primarily, but also Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Gris, the wines are fresh, aromatic, fruity and mostly made for drinking young, although some can age very well. Oaked or unoaked, single varietals and blends, there is a diversity of styles to suit all palates and, unlike Sauvignon Blancs from the New World, the ones from Bordeaux tend to have more subtle and less intense fruit flavours. This makes them all the more versatile with food and great for drinking on their own too.


Mouton Cadet Sauvignon Blanc Grapes: image provided by Eviva Communications.

There is now a drive within the UK to raise consumer awareness of these wines and, in particular, of the region's Sauvignon Blanc styles. According to a recent survey by online wine retailer, Laithwaite's, this is the most popular grape variety for sale in Great Britain, so there is plenty of optimism for success. Indeed, Marc Medeville, Vice President of the Syndicat Viticole des Bordeaux et Bordeaux Supérieur comments: “Sauvignon Blanc is so popular in the UK and most wine drinkers don’t know that it is a major component in Bordeaux Blanc. We want to raise awareness of this with UK consumers and encourage them to try Bordeaux Blanc and discover a more subtle, more food friendly source of Sauvignon Blanc.”


Mouton Cadet Sauvignon Blanc 2013: image by Robin Goldsmith.

Given this scenario, I was delighted to receive a bottle of the award-winning Mouton Cadet Sauvignon Blanc 2013 to review for the Alcohol Professor. This wine is from one of Bordeaux's most successful brands, launched in 1930 by Baron Philippe de Rothschild who wanted to make Bordeaux wine more accessible to a wider audience. By developing partnerships with over 450 winegrowers farming nearly 3,000 acres of vines, the Baron could produce wine that reflects the different terroirs of the region. The same philosophy continues to this day and Mouton Cadet wine is produced from grapes grown in the Entre-Deux-Mers appellation, between the Dordogne and the Garonne rivers, an area of mixed soil types, but predominantly clay and limestone.

On first tasting this wine, the mineral crispness is immediately evident, but it is completely in balance with the fruit and the overall impression is of a light (12% ABV), crisp, elegant style. Notes of ripe nectarine, pineapple, melon and citrus are present on the nose with a herbaceous edge there too. This carries through to the palate, which has a refreshing grapefruit tang on the finish and good acidity. There is a touch of the characteristic Sauvignon Blanc gooseberry profile, but in a more restrained way than many of the more opulent expressions from around the world.

This wine would be ideal as an apéritif or to accompany creamy risottos, chicken or rich fish dishes, particularly salmon and tuna. It is available online in the UK from Ocado.

More information on Bordeaux wines can be found at Planète Bordeaux.

This article is also available on The Alcohol Professor website.