Bordeaux-style white blends on the catwalk

Christian Lacroix versus Coco Chanel

There is much to be said in praise of the Bordeaux-styled white blend. When done right this classic blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon has the potential to offer mind-blowing drinking. Yesterday this theme was explored at my monthly tasting with wine club Bald & The Beautiful, and the feeling was that, like with fashion, what was in vogue yesterday isn’t necessarily the fashion today.

Sticking to this analogy, my observations follow the logic that some of these wines are as classic as Coco’s black dress, while others have fallen out of fashion favour and should be treated as shoulder pads. I also encountered a Björk-style wine: appealing simply because it is weird. 

Keeping my train of thought in mind, here’s my notes on the wines tasted (blind):

1. Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve 2010: Buttery notes, floral and pithy undertones. Herbaceous notes on palate. Somewhat lean finish. 15.5 A pleasant sun dress worn to a garden party.

2. Magna Carta 2007: Upfront whiffs of asparagus and peas. Dusty notes. Bright acidity, lingering creamy finish and waxy texture. 16/20 Last year’s skinny jeans that you still fit into – which doesn’t make it fashionable.

3. Domain de La Solitude 2009: Floral, honeyed nose. Waxy integrated palate, stunning savoury edge. Feminine. Understated and gorgeous. 17/20 Classic black dress.

4. Cape Point Isliedh 2005: Bright gold in colour. Nose shows some developed character and a deliciously spicy edge. Palate is a burst of lemon-like freshness. Immaculate. 17.5/20 A Christian Lacroix wedding gown.

5. Tokara Director’s Reserve 2010: Slightly shy nose shows peach blossom character. Acidity slightly pronounced. Well-integrated but not terribly exciting. 15/20 Like buying Woolworths jeans because there’s no sale at Diesel. (Hey, some people love those Woolworths jeans)

6. Cape Point Isliedh 2006: Pyrazine-driven character, bright (too bright?) acidity. Palate lends balance with waxy & honeyed edge. 15.5/20 (See fashion analogy nr.2)

7. Oak Valley OV 2008: Pronounced flinty notes. Overt minerality. Oyster shells too. Savoury character follows through on palate. Integrated. An engagingly strange wine. 16/20 Yes, this is the Björk wine.

8. Vergelegen White 2007: Lemon-lime richness on the nose, floral and spice notes too. Bright acidity beautifully balanced with creamy mouthfeel. Intense lift on back palate, lingering spicy finish. A bit on the bombastic side 17/20. Like a Versace wedding gown, this wine makes a statement.

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