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DeLille Chaleur Estate Blanc 2015

Bordeaux White Blends from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • V93
  • RP91
14.1% ABV
  • JS93
  • RP92
  • WE92
  • V93
  • RP91
  • WE90
  • RP94
  • TP92
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14.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Right off the bat, there's bouquet of white pepper, lemongrass, brioche, grapefruit, caramelized pineapple and vanilla followed by sweet grass and white flowers. The mouth follows with almond butter, pineapple upside down cake, apple crisp and campfire smoke framing the dried fruit and honey. Wow, this vintage is complex and generously flavored – an outstanding Chaleur Blanc!

Blend: 73% Sauvignon Blanc, 27% Semillon

Critical Acclaim

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V 93
Vinous
Bright lemon-yellow. Fully ripe but exhilaratingly sappy aromas of tropical fruits, lemon oil, fig and honeysuckle. Very sexy, complex and smooth on the palate, with expressive flavors of citrus fruits, honey, wild herbs and flowers (Upchurch described the wine as "more Smith-Haut-Lafitte than Domaine de Chevalier in style," which isn't much of a stretch considering its high quality in recent years). Finishes with outstanding subtle length and thrust. The Sauvignon Blanc from Sagemoor, reportedly the oldest planting of this variety in the state, makes up a good percentage of this wine. Incidentally, this is DeLille Cellars' 22nd year of making a white Bordeaux blend in Washington. Rating: 93+
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
I've always loved this cuvee, and the 2015 Chaleur Estate Blanc is no exception. Made from 73% Sauvignon Blanc and 27% Semillon, fermented sur lie in barrel, it has the classic minerality found in Bordeaux whites as well as lots of buttered citrus, mango, lychee and honeyed nuances. It has a supple, forward texture, racy acidity and a great finish. It's an impeccably made, versatile white to drink over the coming 2-3 years, or cellar for a decade if you're so inclined.
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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 capable of producing 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 even extends into northern Oregon!

Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. 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 entire 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. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.

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.

SWS417168_2015 Item# 175948