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Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc 2016

  • WE93
  • D92
  • WS92
  • JS91
  • RP91
  • JD90
750ML / 12.5% ABV
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750ML / 12.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Chateau Carbonnieux white is a legendary wine. It is said that in the 18th century it was introduced to the Sultan of Constantinople's palace because of its clarity and was called "mineral water from Carbonnieux", thus defying the Islamic law. The clay–limestone of Garonne gravel found in the Pessac-Leognan Appellation certainly produces the best dry white wines in the Bordeaux region. When young, Carbonnieux white wines are delightfully refreshing and pure with a fruity, floral intensity. When mature they develop hints of dried and candied fruits giving scope for a large range of gastronomic pairings. The batches which will form part of this "cru classe" will be blended so as to induce an excellent complicity between the grape varieties. The chosen Semillon grapes will add structure to the liveliness of the Sauvignon grapes by giving them roundness and volume on the palate.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
Lightly herbal, this is a crisp and bright wine. The strong structural element will allow the wine to age, with a textured character and perfumed acidity at the end.
D 92
Decanter
This wine has Pessac typicity, on the high-gloss side of things. Its pretty high in Sauvignon/Semillon character on the nose, which is good, and it has clear typicity, although the oak overshadows the minerality. It has a gourmet ending, with an apricot and honeysuckle twist, as well as high acidity.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Very fresh, with lovely verbena, honeysuckle and jasmine notes leading the way, backed by racy meringue, yellow apple and melon rind flavors, showing a very late flash of oyster shell detail. Drink now through 2022.
JS 91
James Suckling
Linear and solid white with sliced-apple, pear and lemon character. Full body. Little old style but I like it — as always.
Barrel Sample: 90-91 Points
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The Carbonnieux 2016 Blanc features fresh white peaches, Bosc pears and honeysuckle with touches of lemongrass and yuzu. Medium-bodied, refreshing and with a lovely intensity of apple and pears layers, it finishes on a mineral note.
JD 90
Jeb Dunnuck
An outstanding white, the 2016 Château Carbonnieux Blanc has a tight, slightly reductive style in its lime, citrus zest, and mineral-like aromas and flavors. These flow to a medium-bodied, elegant white that has bracing acidity yet good fruit. It needs a year or two of bottle age to come together, but it’s beautiful.
Rating: 90+
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Chateau Carbonnieux

Chateau Carbonnieux

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Chateau Carbonnieux, France
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The history of Carbonnieux goes back a very long way, and records show that wine was made there at least as early as the 12th century. Benedictine monks from Sainte-Croix abbey in Bordeaux replanted and renovated the estate in the 18th century. They took advantage of the exceptionally pale, clear color of the white wine to label it as "Carbonnieux mineral water", which they then proceeded to ship to the sultan of Turkey.

Marc Perrin acquired and restored the chateau in 1956. His son, Antony, currently manages the estate. The gravelly soil at Carbonnieux is perfectly drained thanks to the Eau Blanche stream that carries away any excess water. The 85 hectares of vines are evenly divided between red and white wine varieties. The white wine is fermented and aged in barrel for 10 months. The red wine is aged for 15 to 18 months in barrel, depending on the quality and characteristics of the vintage.

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Pessac-Leognan

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Recognized for its superior reds as well as whites, Pessac-Léognan on the Left Bank claims classified growths for both—making it quite unique in comparison to its neighboring Médoc properties.

Pessac’s Chateau Haut-Brion, the only first growth located outside of the Médoc, is said to have been the first to conceptualize fine red wine in Bordeaux back in the late 1600s. The estate, along with its high-esteemed neighbors, La Mission Haut-Brion, Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pique-Caillou and Chateau Pape-Clément are today all but enveloped by the city of Bordeaux. The rest of the vineyards of Pessac-Léognan are in clearings of heavily forested area or abutting dense suburbs.

Arid sand and gravel on top of clay and limestone make the area unique and conducive to growing Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc as well as the grapes in the usual Left Bank red recipe: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and miniscule percentages of Petit Verdot and Malbec.

The best reds will show great force and finesse with inky blue and black fruit, mushroom, forest, tobacco, iodine and a smooth and intriguing texture.

Its best whites show complexity, longevity and no lack of exotic twists on citrus, tropical and stone fruit with pronounced floral and spice characteristics.

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Bordeaux White Blends

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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 intrigue. 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" called botrytis, can have lush stone fruit and honey characteristics.

Perfect Pairings

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.

Sommelier Secret

Sauternes and Barsac are usually reserved for dessert, but astute 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, oysters with a spicy mignonette or during dinner alongside hearty Alsatian sausage, poached lobster in beurre blanc sauce or even fried chicken.

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