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Chateau Bonnet Blanc 2010
The wine is brilliant and luminous to the eye, while on the noseChâteau Bonnet 2010 shows its personality once again with intense aromas of grapefruit, boxwood, and acacia flowers. On the palate, the attack is fresh and lemony, is in perfect balance with the rich fully body that is well-structured and has a long finish. The aromatic persistence is remarkable, and the notes of citrus fruits and yellow peaches linger on the palate. This wine, already delicious, is a perfect match with fish tartars, shellfish and summer salads.
Château Bonnet lies to the North of the Entre-Deux-Mers, on the clay-chalk slopes of the commune of Grézillac, overlooking the Dordogne valley some 10km south of Saint Emilion. The estate dates back to the 17th century; when André Lurton took over in 1956, it comprised 30 hectares of vineyard, which he immediately undertook to renovate and develop.
Today, half Bonnet's production is devoted to a highly popular dry white (AOC Entre-Deux-Mers), a blend of Sauvignon, Sémillon and Muscadelle grapes, carefully vinified to preserve the freshness and bouquet of these varietals.
The other half is composed of classic red varietals - Merlots, Cabernet Francs and Cabernet Sauvignons - producing noteworthy clarets widely held to be superior to the general run of the appellation.
Sometimes light and crisp, other times rich and creamy, Bordeaux white blends typically consist of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Often, a small amount of Muscadelle or Sauvignon Gris is included for added interest. This blend was popularized in the Bordeaux region of France (where it also comprises outstanding sweet wines like Sauternes and Barsac), but is often mimicked throughout the New World, particularly in California, Washington, and Australia.
In the Glass
Sémillon provides the background to this blend, with a relatively full body and an oily texture. Sauvignon Blanc adds acidity and lots of bright fruit flavor, particularly white grapefruit, lime, and freshly cut grass. Used in smaller proportions, Muscadelle can contribute fresh floral notes, while Sauvignon Gris is less aromatic but offers ripe, juicy fruit on the palate. These wines run the gamut from unoaked, refreshing, and easy to drink to serious, complex, and barrel-aged. The latter style, usually with a higher percentage of Sémillon, can develop aromas of ginger, chamomile, and dried orange peel. The dessert wines produced by these blends, often with the help of noble rot, can have lush stone fruit and honey character.
Crisp, dry Bordeaux white blends are the perfect accompaniment for raw or lightly cooked seafood, especially shellfish. A more structured, Sémillon-based bottling can stand up to richer fish, chicken, or pork dishes in white sauces. These blends also work well with a variety of vegetables and fresh herbs, like asparagus, peas, basil, and tarragon. Sweet dessert wines are traditionally enjoyed with strong blue cheeses, foie gras, or fruit-based desserts.
Sauternes and Barsac are usually reserved for dessert, but smart sommeliers know that they can be served at any time—before, during, or after the meal. Try these sweet wines as an aperitif with jamón ibérico or oysters with a spicy mignonette, or during dinner alongside hearty Alsatian sausage, poached lobster in beurre blanc sauce, or even fried chicken.