This wine connoisseur gives his informed opinion.
Most wine drinkers would probably plump for those made from the ubiquitous Chardonnay grape – French, in particular. Bottles from Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune are the stuff of legend, the likes of Meursault, Corton-Charlemagne and anything with Montrachet on the label (obviously). Chablis, too, can rise to similar heights. Messrs Raveneau and Dauvissat can easily reduce connoisseurs to froth and frenzy.
No complaints in this corner. However, I am staggered that the dry whites from Bordeaux somehow seem to miss out on similar reverence. One simple answer might be that when it comes to the Gironde estuary, it’s all about the reds: claret remains in fine wine’s pole position, a vinous Lewis Hamilton. The Bordelais also wax lyrical about the region’s dessert wines – Yquem at the pinnacle, flanked by Climens, Rieussec and Suduiraut. Bordeaux Sec languishes by comparison.
Here’s another possible factor: after the frost of 1956 that so devastated the region’s vineyards, the resulting replanting programme put red grape varieties at the forefront, meaning white wine’s share of production dropped from 50% to 10%.