White Bordeaux blend is a term Wine-Searcher uses to gather together wines blended from the three classic white-wine grapes of Bordeaux: Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. In this blend, Sauvignon brings its trademark grassy aromas, while Semillon adds a touch of complexity and a waxy, honeyed note. Muscadelle, the lesser-known of the three varieties, contributes grapey aromas.
Classic white Bordeaux blends are pale gold in color, perhaps with flashes golden-green, and are characterized by aromas of citrus, grass and hay. Sweet examples, such as those made in Bordeaux's Sauternes, Cerons, Cadillac and Loupiac districts, show a range of honeyed lemon, orange marmalade, dried apricot and even preserved tropical flavors with (depending on age) secondary notes of sweet nuts and treacle.
The classic Bordeaux blend is perhaps one of the most overlooked categories of white wine in the world today. Up until the 1960s, vineyards in Bordeaux were dominated by white-wine varieties, but changes in consumer tastes and preferences worked very much in favor of red wines. This, combined with improvements in winemaking techniques that made red Bordeaux cheaper to produce, soon saw white Bordeaux consigned to the sidelines. Even today white Bordeaux remains heavily overshadowed by its red counterpart (see Red Bordeaux Blend).
If made according to tradition, and in line with appellation laws, a classic Bordeaux white wine will contain at least 25 percent Sauvignon Blanc, to ensure a certain aromatic freshness. For lighter-styled, aromatic wines, a winemaker will favor Muscadelle. For a richer, more cellar-worthy style, a higher proportion of Semillon is used.
Of course, many Bordeaux white wines are simply a blend of Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon, and do not include the lesser known Muscadelle at all.
Food matches for White Bordeaux Blends include: