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DeLille Chaleur Estate Blanc 2010

Bordeaux White Blends from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • RP92
  • WE91
  • WS90
13.9% ABV
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13.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Sauvignon Blanc leads the way with aromas of toasted almonds, sweet straw, cardamom and other baking spices. Reminiscent of vanilla cream, guava, Meyer's lemon, pears and toasty oak tones, this wine delivers a supple, mouthwatering texture lingering on the palate long after the final sip. Superb balance, elegance, and length all contribute to a wine of timeless grace.

Blend: 77% Sauvignon Blanc, 23% Semillon

Critical Acclaim

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RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
DeLille's 2010 Chaleur Estate Blanc – a blend of Sauvignon with 23% Semillon from four manifestly superbly well-managed sites – is dominated by lime peel-laced fig and honeydew melon, to which honeysuckle and heliotrope perfume add allure, and an aura of smokiness and high-toned suggestion of almond extract and peppermint add further pungent intrigue. The palate impression here manages adroitly to balance waxy texture, zesty piquancy, and infectious juiciness. "If you made the quantity of Semillon equal, it would take over the blend," notes Upchurch, channeling precisely the hypothesis I was myself entertaining at that moment. Everybody's giving up on Semillon," he adds with (what I at least hope is) hyperbole, "Californians, South Americans, even Australians; but I love working with it." Upchurch is proud of the particular assortment of barrels he has assembled to suit his Chaleur white, and it came as a big surprise to me after tasting this installment to learn that 70% of them were new; but the trick is that the wine spends only four months in them, based on what Upchurch, by analogy with baking, calls the "TODD" principle: take it out when it's done, dummy! This is likely to reward and morph significantly over a decade of cellaring.
WE 91
Wine Enthusiast
This new vintage of Chaleur Estate Blanc is still quite young and tight. It shows the toasty scents of pretty new oak, set in an elegant frame of mixed fruits. Cucumber, apple, citrus and melon flavors emerge, suggesting an overall lighter style from a cooler vintage. Graceful and polished.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
A fresh and citrusy white, this is juicy, delivering lemon and verbena aromas and flavors. A touch of tobacco and hint of butter mark the finish. Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
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DeLille

DeLille Cellars

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DeLille Cellars, Columbia Valley, Washington
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DeLille Cellars produces a portfolio embracing the classic styles of Bordeaux, the Rhone and Provence. Since its creation, the goal is to make the best handcrafted old world-style red and white wine in the state of Washington has been unwavering during their 20-year history. Through their commitment to varietal integrity, terroir expression and elegance in the glass, they continue to maintain an impeccable reputation and a unique artisinal perspective. Both colleagues and critics agree that DeLille Cellars creates wine where power and grace co-exist; no single element overshadows the beauty of the whole, complete wine.

Columbia Valley

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A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington State’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA extends into northern Oregon as well. Because of its vast size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which is further split into three more even smaller AVAs. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences cold winters and long, dry growing seasons. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling, the styles of which depend on the warmth of the site. Citrus and green apple are common to both in cooler sites, while warmer vineyards will produce riper, fleshier stone fruit flavors.

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 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.

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 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.

SWS309391_2010 Item# 120698