Château Carbonnieux – Grand Cru Classé de Graves

I had the great pleasure of visiting Château Carbonnieux recently on a visit of Bordeaux. I have always been a big fan on their legendary and long-lived white wines and was thrilled when we were welcomed by the château’s owner for a private tour, tasting and sumptuous lunch.

 

Château Carbonnieux

Château Carbonnieux

 

Most people associate Bordeaux with red wine and many don’t realize that the region produces some gorgeous dry white wines from Sauvignon Blanc & Sémillon grapes along with lusciously sweet wines from the same varieties. I’ve long been a fan of the more restrained style of Sauvignon Blanc from this moderate climate and it’s truly a marvellous match with Sémillon which brings a waxy depth to the wines and tames the acidity and greenness that Sauvignon Blanc can have.

 

Château Carbonnieux was founded in the 18th century by Bendictine monks of the Sainte-Croix abbey. In 1956 is was bought by Marc Perrin, whose two grandsons still own and manage the estate today. Family run châteaux are becoming a rarity in Bordeaux. I feel the Perrin’s attention to detail and pride in the family business can be tasted in their lovely red and white wines. Their wines were classified as “grands crus classés de Graves” in 1959, making them one of the only estates to have both their white and red wines classified. Any classic car lover who is in the area should make a stop to visit the collection of immpecably kept old cars that the Perrin’s keep at the château

 

Château Carbonnieux is located mote specifically in the Graves appellation, just south of Bordeaux city and is easy to reach from the city center. Graves is concerted the ancient birthplace of the vine in and around the Bordeaux area, dating to Roman times. In 1987, the best terroirs of Graves banded together to create their own AOC – Pessac-Léognan.

Château Carbonnieux

Château Carbonnieux

 

What sets the best white Bordeaux apart from other whites is that the best are barrel aged, adding complexity, longevity and spicy and smoky aromas to the wine. These are food wines par excellence and pair deliciously with poultry in creamy sauces (think Bresse chicken in cream with morel mushrooms), Asian fusion, cheeses or more classic rich fish or seafood dishes. They offer immediate and fruity pleasure in their youth and rich, dense honeyed complexity in their older age.

Barrels at  Château Carbonnieux

Barrels at  Château Carbonnieux

 

At Cook’n With Class during my Cheese & Wine class, I often serve their second wine, Château Tour Léognan paired with a dense, aged goat cheese. This wine makes for a really classy example of the white wines of Bordeaux. It’s made from the exact same terroir as their “grand vin” but from younger vines that haven’t yet reached their optimal age for making the more concentrated and complex grand vin. Château Tour Léognan offers a more accessible, younger and fruity baby-brother version of the grand vin. I love showing this wine along side a more classic 100{3a7d09526df5c7d799d9c3345e955029832d7bc6b7b2dd8e5aa7fd6ebaba0b85} sauvignon blanc from the center of the Loire to further discuss how terroir influences the taste of a wine and how barrel ageing and human touch can further alter the flavor of a wine.

 

Chateau Tour Leognan

Chateau Tour Leognan

 

I hope this post will inspire you to try more of Bordeaux white wines. Especially at a time when many of us are being priced out of the more prestigious and well known reds of the region, the whites can offer a great value for money and the best do age gracefully for many years to come.

 

Cheers!

Preston

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