Jean Marc Barthez Bordeaux Blanc

While better known for red wine, the region of Bordeaux still manages to produce nearly seven million cases of white wine annually, which can be every bit as distinctive as its iconic reds. Geographically, the epicenter of the area’s dry white production lies in the Entre-Deux-Mers (“between the two tides”) sub-region, situated between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. The area’s gravel-rich soils make it ideal for growing crisp, racy, mineral-driven whites that
represent a completely unique expression of the popular Sauvignon Blanc grape.

The best examples—such as this one from artisan winemaker Jean Marc Barthez, who serves as president of a small co-operative winery in the ancient village of Monségur—will overturn everything you’ve come to expect from the usual lineup of “varietal” Sauvignon Blanc from Chile or New Zealand.

Sourced from vineyards that surround the winery and fermented without oak to preserve the underlying expression of its classic terroir, this is Sauvignon Blanc as channeled through the unique prism of Bordeaux. With its cleansing acidity and flavors of citrus and melon, it possesses the deeper texture, elegance, and richness of body that are the region’s hallmarks. According to Jean Marc, part of that depth also results from the small touch of Sémillon (the
region’s “other” white grape) he includes in the blend, which imparts a certain “je ne sais quoi” that immediately conjures white Bordeaux. A quintessential oyster wine, according to Mary it has all the necessary structure to stand up to richer fish and shellfish dishes like pan-seared trout or broiled lobster.

Appellation: Bordeaux AOC
Varietals: 95% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Semillon
Soil Type: Alluvial sand and clay
Alcohol: 12.0%

La Grande Vignolle

100% Cabernet Franc. From 45-year-old, certified-organic estate vines from a 6-hectare vineyard called La Grande Vignolle. The lieu-dit is on a chalk cliff on calcareous clay soils, set back from the Loire River on a high plateau at the northern limit of the Saumur-Champigny appellation. The bunches are destemmed; fermentation is with native yeasts in stainless steel; maceration is around 20 days; aging is in steel tank for about 10 months before bottling. Decades ago, importers Joe Dressner and Denyse Louis requested that Grande Vignolle be left unfiltered for the American market, and the legend lives on in the bottle and on the label.
“The 2020 la Grande Vignolle bottling from Domaine Filliatreau is beautifully expressive and suavely red fruity on the nose this year, offering up a fine constellation of cherries, pomegranate, cigar wrapper, a lovely base of tuffeau soil tones, hints of both menthol and tree bark and a gently floral topnote redolent of peonies. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and complex, with fine core and soil signature, ripe tannins and a long, nicely balanced and nascently complex finish. As I tasted this right off of the boat, it is understandably still quite young, but it has impressive depth, length and complexity and will be a superb bottle of Saumur Champigny with just a bit of bottle age. As it is sealed with a synthetic cork, it may come forward fairly briskly, once it settles in from its voyage. In a pinch, I would have no trouble drinking it now, but it is still pretty youthful! 2022-2035+. ” – John Gilman, View From The Cellar May-June 2021