Ah, nothing like a fine Bordeaux! I know you, you’re thinking about big, expensive red wines classified way back in 1855. While it’s undeniable that many fine red Bordeaux blends deserve your attention (predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon on the Left Bank, mostly Merlot on the Right Bank)– assuming you can afford them– I ask you to think different. Think white. Search out the expressive, complex and quite affordable white wines from the Graves region in Bordeaux. For instance, the 2013 Clos Marsalette Blanc.
Graves is situated on the Left Bank directly below the city of Bordeaux. The name “Graves” comes from a very desirable element in the soil, namely gravel. Gravel is great for retaining heat (longer maturing varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon love this) and good for drainage (vines don’t like to be waterlogged, which is understandable). While the Graves appellation includes dry red and white wines (and the most famous of all sweet white wines, Château D’Yquem Sauternes), our focus here is on the dry white wines of Pessac-Léognan, an AOP within Graves. These dry whites are mostly made from some combination of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon grapes.
Enough back story. Let’s get to Greg’s Pan Fried Sole with Sesame and Nuoc Cham. I chose the 2013 Clos Marsalette Blanc to pair with this dish for the following reasons: since it’s 70% Sauvignon Blanc it has a nice bit of acidity to supply freshness and cut through the oiliness of the fried fish, while also mirroring and enhancing the requisite spritz of lime. But this SB blend is 30% aged in new oak, adding a rounding sweetness that complements the nutty sesame crust. Plus, the Sémillon component contributes texture and a waxy honeysuckle element that counterbalances the fresh chili flakes in the sauce. The Clos Marsalette Blanc is big enough to stand up to the umami-laden fish sauce in Greg’s Nuoc Cham dipping sauce. And you’re sure to savor its nice long finish– not to mention its nice low price. For you high(er) rollers out there, I’d also recommend the 2013 Château Brown Blanc from Pessac-Léognan – 93 points from Wine Spectator and about $35. KEN
Pairs With How to Make Crunchy Pan-Fried Sole
Also pairs well with Fish, seafood, lobster, grilled vegetables, Asian spices
- Category White Wine
- Varietal 70% Sauvignon Blanc 30% Sémillon
- Region Bordeaux