Wine of the Week: Beau-Rivage Bordeaux Blanc

Wine: Beau-Rivage Bordeaux Blanc

Grape: Sauvignon blanc (70 percent), semillon (25 percent), muscadelle (5 percent)

Region: Bordeaux, France

Vintage: 2011

Price: $9.99

Availability: Lee’s Discount Liquors

In the glass: Beau-Rivage Blanc is a lively, vibrant citrine-yellow color with a clean, clear appearance, going out into a faint lemon-yellow to glass-clear rim definition with medium-high viscosity.

On the nose: The wine has lovely forward floral notes with crushed red apples, honeysuckle, orange blossoms, white currants, apricot jam and pomelo fruit segments with some underlying hints of slight steely volatile acidity and chalky minerals.

On the palate: The wine features a superbly crisp, balanced flavor profile that denotes a complete harmony between acidity and fruit. There are green apple skins, citrus rind, winter melon, pear sparkler, rose water, white currant juice, toasty, slightly creamy notes of green melon and oodles of fine chalky minerality. The midpalate maintains the excellent balance, and it finishes with yet more white currants and great mineral character. This is a classic example of a good Bordeaux white wine.

Odds and ends: Earlier this year, I hosted a contingent of Bordeaux winemakers in Las Vegas for a big tasting of the 2011 vintage. While the 2011s have been called “difficult” and “challenging” by many critics, including myself, the vintage now bottled and in the market is very charming and drinkable early for the light-bodied reds and superb for the whites. And the white wines from 2011 are stunningly delicious from the Bordeaux region. This Beau-Rivage is a good example of just how successful the vintage was for the white wines, even though this is not considered among the very top ones. Beau-Rivage is a so-called Bordeaux blend with most of the fruit coming from large vineyards in the Entre-deux-Mers area. It is made by the famous house of Borie-Manoux, which is owned by the affable Philippe Casteja, who also has major classified properties on both the Left and Right Banks as they’re called in Bordeaux. His team of winemakers picks nice ripe fruit to make these blended wines, and the results speak for themselves, as does the ability to bring them to market at reasonable prices. It comes with a handy screwcap for easy access to the wine, which should be consumed at about 52 degrees Fahrenheit in the company of a plate of fresh oysters or other seafood. Drink it now through 2015.

Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at

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