- 2018 Les Portes De Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux, France $5.99 (@Trader Joe’s; California)
I’m surprised that it has taken us so long to review this wine from Trader Joe’s, where it’s a bit of a staple. But when the temperatures drifted above 90 degrees last weekend here in Southern California, it seemed the time was right to take this one out for a test drive.
To continue with the driving metaphor, this wine is the vinous equivalent of putting the top down and cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway with the Eagles Hotel California on repeat.
Crisp, clean and refreshing, it was a really pleasant surprise.
But maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise.
After all, Sauvignon Blanc is hugely popular the world over and is solely responsible for some of the world’s most distinctive aromatic dry white wines. Take for example wines labeled Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé within France. All are synonymous with Sauvignon Blanc, just as “white Bordeaux” was, although in those bottlings it was often blended with Semillon. Outside of France, vast rivers of Sauvignon Blanc are labeled as such, or as Fumé Blanc.
Tasting Notes:Crisp with a snappy acid. Aromas of citrus, pear and granny smith apples. On the palate zesty grapefruit, tropical fruit, honey, and apples. It ends dry, long and persistent. This flavorful wine would pair nicely with fish, shellfish, or light pasta dishes not using tomato based sauces.
Although this is our first review of a white wine from France’s Bordeaux region, we have previously reviewed some of their red wines. You can find those reviews here and here. While our reviews focus on extreme values from the region, it is not what most wine consumers associate with Bordeaux.
Most American wine consumers equate Bordeaux with expensive “trophy” wines, which with a few exceptions are almost always red. (Sauternes are a notable exception.) While it is true that the region produces more top quality wines than any other in the world, these represent less than 5% of the wine produced there.
Speaking of exceptions, white wine comprises only some 10% of the wine made in Bordeaux. Bottlings such as this one remind you that the same region that built its brand on luxury wines that cost hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars per bottle, it also makes really good white wines that can sell for under $10!
Unlike those trophy wines, this is a wine you don’t need to think to much about. It is, in a word, fun. And speaking of fun, here is a fun fact that you can use to impress your wine snob friends: genetically-speaking, Sauvignon Blanc is the parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. Be prepared for howls of protest and the word “preposterous” exclaimed and be prepared with this quotation from the esteemed wine author Jancis Robinson:
“…in 1997 Sauvignon Blanc’s standing in the world of wine rose when DNA profiling established that, with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc was a parent of Cabernet Sauvignon, the result of a spontaneous field crossing, probably in the 18th century, in Bordeaux.”
Yep, you read it here first. Cabernet Sauvignon is the love child of a vineyard tryst between Cab Franc and Sauv Blanc. Somebody alert TMZ.