For most wine lovers, when it comes to Rhone or Bordeaux, the colour is rouge. However, those with a slightly more adventurous palate have started to seek out the best of the whites in these regions, with a favourable summer in the South of France resulting in some of the best vin blancs to date.
In Rhone, white wines from Chateauneuf du Pape, Hermitage and Cote-Rotie are seldom seen on the market. Indeed, much like the wine produced in Switzerland, the locals tend to favour keeping the wine to themselves. But the whites from these areas can be something special, with rare grape varieties being used in unique production techniques.
Croze-Hermitage, for example, produces wine which can be made exclusively from marsanne or rousanne grapes, or by blending both. This is a wine that is worth seeking out, with enchanting floral attributes and touches of melon and gooseberry to compliment the crisp acidity.
The wines in Bordeaux are more widely available, which means that they may loose their appeal among some investors. However, this year is comparable to the reds of 2009 and 2010 in terms of standout quality, and the best of the whites are likely to sell out much quicker than previous years based on their distinguishable quality.
Adam Lechmere of Decanter explains that the adverse weather conditions in the summer of 2011 have actually acted favourably for the whites. Consultant Denis Dubordieu said that the white wines are excellent this year, and most producers have commented on outstanding produce of the white variety this time around.
Olivier Bernard at Domaine de Chevalier in the Graves is unashamedly delighted by his white, saying that the freshness and acidity was complemented by the cool summer days and nights. He told Decanter: "It is very, very good and it has such balanced acids that it will last for a long time."
Chateau Climens in Barsac also revealed their delight at this year's wine, with Berenice Lurton reiterating the opinion of many producers by pointing out the precise freshness and acidity.
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