2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Marquis de Bacalan

Saturday night is usually a red night and, as you may notice, most often a California Cabernet Sauvignon with grilled steak. This weekend, however, it was time to approach things from a fresh angle–hence a fish dish and this delicious Blanc instead of a Cab. George Costanza would be proud (and hey I think it was Jason Alexander’s birthday too, so maybe there’s some kismet involved).

2015 Marquis de Balacalan Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux, France.

2015 Marquis de Bacalan Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux, France.

The 2015 Marquis de Bacalan Sauvignon Blanc was part of an online wine order, a sampling of reds and whites from Bordeaux. The region’s reds get far more attention in the magazines and such, but whites like this nicely balanced bottle deserve some of the spotlight too. It has such a fresh, summer smell to it–quite fragrant and inviting when uncorked. This evaluator is not crazy about orange (i.e., the fruit), but the citrus notes of the Marquis were gentle and encouraging instead of off-putting. There is something that almost makes you want to chew this wine…a scent that I can’t better describe than saying it made me hungry for a sip.

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2015 Marquis de Bacalan Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux, France.

That did bode well for the meal, a Blue Apron salmon recipe that sat ignored and uncooked for several weeks until tonight. Displayed here you see a crispy-skinned salmon with a French sauce gribiche, grilled vegetables (cherry tomatoes and purple summer beans), and mashed potatoes. With plenty of garlic, shallot, and tarragon in the mix, the meal came together really nicely and was the perfect setup for the 2015 Marquis de Bacalan. The dijonnaise mustard flavor worked effectively with both the seafood as well as the wine. My only critique of the food? Wish this chef had diced the cornichons a little finer instead of simply thinly slicing them.

Here’s hoping the leftover portion will stand up well for its encore performance later this week. Certainly the 2015 Marquis de Bacala will, and its good showing on this occasion (along with other recent offerings from Bordeaux) deepens my interest in future whites from one of the world’s best-known wine-producing regions.

 

*Quick confession: I did open a Cab while making dinner, so it’s not like reds went unrepresented in this house for the night.

2014 Le Parlement Bordeaux Blanc

Buddy Guy and the Stones playing “Champagne & Reefer” in the background as I reflect on a great new dish and vino–the latter being the 2014 Le Parlement Bordeaux Blanc. If you’re into such things, I’ll share that the wine took home a Gold Medal (Director’s Award) and Best of Class honors at the 2016 International Winemaker Challenge. It took Silver in the 2016 Monterey International Wine Competition too. While Notes doesn’t offer cover whites, be assured this one will go into the “best of” list at year’s end.

2014 Le Parlement Bordeaux Blanc, Bordeaux, France.

2014 Le Parlement Bordeaux Blanc, Bordeaux, France.

The Le Parlement accompanied a new dish, one that (excusing self accolades) turned out exceptionally. Pictured here is not only the Bordeaux Blanc but brown butter cod with corn, shishito peppers, and purple potatoes. It’s my understanding that the peppers are Japanese in origin, and they wrapped a whole salvo of flavors together–you have a little stir fry, a little sweet and a little heat in those babies. The cod has had the brown butter spooned over it, sherry vinegar too. The whole kitchen smelled fantastic as this cooked up–in part from those aromatics but even more so from fresh oregano, shallot, and pressed garlic that work their way into the plated dish.

Okay, now the wine:  The 2014 Le Parlement Bordeaux Blanc is crisp and citrusy. It is not overly dry, nor is it sticky sweet like the Riesling currently cooling in the fridge. The Le Parlement reminded me of this recent find too. It’s got a bit more weight to it than does a Pinot Grigio (at least the ones covered with some recurring frequency here). This white wine is not a buttery Chardonnay, either, with oak in its profile, but more like “spring”. I know, I know, don’t roll your eyes and say “WTF does spring taste like?” What I’m trying to describe is a light, nuanced white wine that I don’t quite have the palate to fully articulate. As I read here, I find it interesting that I’m better able to describe what the 2014 Le Parlement Bordeaux Blanc is NOT even more than what I can say it IS.Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 2.59.41 PM

This is really a nice wine, truly enjoyable with the upscale cod, and you would do well to try a Bordeaux Blanc (this in particular) next time you’re thinking about fish. I know I will.

2013 Les Hauts De Lagarde Bordeaux White

This dish was so great the first time we tried it (thanks Blue Apron!) that we had to run it back–it’s cod kedgeree, over a bed of basmati rice, cabbage, and frizzled onion. The onion is a salty accent, as is freshly squeezed lime juice, and it all went with the 2013 Les Hauts De Lagarde Bordeaux White. This bottle has been with us for about a year, even moving between homes, and this evening was its great unveiling. Its purchase was actually a happy accident that yielded dividends we’re enjoying tonight with the light dinner fare.

2013 Les Hauts De Lagarde Bordeaux White

2013 Les Hauts De Lagarde Bordeaux White, Bordeaux, France.

The 2013 Les Hauts De Lagarde Bordeaux White is really fun. Citrusy, light, and not at all sweet. The vineyard, producing grapes for over eight generations, now embraces chemical free methods so you even feel “organic” and clean when you’re drinking this wine. Its a mix of 60% Sauvignon and 40% Semillon (my first taste of the latter?) that comes together in an even, gentle white. It is sweeter than a Blanc and less buttery than a Chardonnay–a good place to be, in the opinion of this taster.

The winemaker’s notes read, “Yellow pale with iridescent hints. Aromatic, citrus fruits with aromas of white flowers. Lively, rich, with the fine presence of acidity.

Now, I have no palate or idea what an ‘iridescent hint’ means, but I can confirm it’s an enjoyable citrus pick-me-up. The 2013 Les Hauts De Lagarde Bordeaux White won Gold “Best In Class” recognition at the 2014 Los Angeles International Wine Competition, which means you might put more stock into this wine than just the opinion of this guy. I’m looking forward to finding another bottle of this in the future.