Chateau Haut-La Pereyre Blanc 2021
Bone-dry refreshing white Bordeaux based on Sauvignon Blanc with some Sauvignon Gris and Semillon from the Haut-Benauge subzone of Entre-Deux-Mers, a subzone in the hills behind the river town of Cadillac long recognized for white wines. This wine was not fined or cold-stabilized and may throw tartaric crystals.
Blend: Roughly 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Sauvignon Gris,15% Sémillon
In these hills during the Middle Ages the local lord established his digs at the nearby Château de Benauge, which served as a fortress during the endless skirmishes of the 100 Years War. It was the last bastion to fall to the French when they won the war in 1453 and finally drove the English out of Aquitaine. The sub appellation of Haut Benauge was named after a local fort (pictured below with Olivier) from the 100 Years War and created in 1955 as a superior zone for whites within Entre-Deux Mers thanks to its hillsides and limestone soils. The appellation is reserved for both dry and sweet whites — red wine falls under the larger umbrella of Bordeaux Supérieur — but both colors do equally well here. This zone is located in the hinterland of Cadillac, a river town that still retains its fortified walls and looks straight across the river at the appellation of Graves. (A short aside: The Cadillac Motor Company was named after Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, a French explorer who was born near Cadillac and who founded Detroit. The Cadillac logo is based on his coat of arms.)
Today, Olivier farms 126 acres of grapes at Château Haut-La Péreyre. In 2019 he earned HEV certification (High Environmental Value, a new program instituted by the Ministry of Agriculture–see HERE for more info), and currently he has 15 acres of red varieties in conversion for organic production. All in all, he makes a range of wine under several labels: red, white, rosé, even crémant; sells in bottle, in bag-in-box, continues to sell some in bulk (to the négoc), and he attends wine fairs on weekends to hawk his wares direct to consumers. As such, he typifies the ranks of petits chateaux, the class of unheralded small farmers who account for so much of the wine made in Bordeaux. There’s little in the way of bells and whistles to announce their wines, but they can be some of the best values in Bordeaux—and France—today.
Extending over verdant slopes between the Rivers Dordogne and Garonne, the Entre-Deux-Mers region (“between two seas”) offers great value and a splendid introduction to the dry reds and whites of Bordeaux. Merlot and Cabernet comprise most of the reds; Sauvignon blanc and Semillon are responsible for the whites, all of which are best enjoyed in their youth.
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. Popularized in Bordeaux, the blend is often mimicked throughout the New World. Somm Secret—Sauternes and Barsac are usually reserved for dessert, but they can be served before, during or after a meal. Try these sweet wines as an aperitif with jamón ibérico, oysters with a spicy mignonette or during dinner alongside hearty Alsatian sausage.