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THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 2 M A R C H 2 0 1 7 227 ing the Muscadet region where Melon is grown for Muscadet wines. The Loire contains 87 appellations. Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé sit opposite each other across the river. The “fumé” name is often thought to have arisen from the flavour profile of Sauv Blanc grown there. The soil is a silex flint interspersed with the limestone, said to impart a smoky gunflint note to the wine. The wines from this region have characteristic gooseberry and grapefruit flavors, with the Pouilly- Fumé version typically being more full-bodied and rich in texture. Probably the most famous producer in recent times was Didier Dageneau, who prior to his death in a plane crash in 2008 developed a cult following for his Sauv Blanc wines. His family carries on the tradition. The original winemaker from one of B.C.’s own cult wineries, Black Hills, went to visit and study with him before releasing her own Sauv Blanc/Sémillon called “Alibi” a few years before his death. I was privileged and pleased to contribute grapes from my vineyard to her first couple of releases. The most famous dry white Bordeaux wines are produced in the Pessac Leognan appellation, although they are also produced elsewhere in the region in a lighter and fruitier style. The most coveted in Pessac Leognan is Château Haut-Brion Blanc, which in some circles is probably more famous for its white than the Haut-Brion red, and can sell for over a $1,000 a bottle (in B.C. probably at least double that). Château Margaux also produces a well-considered white. Good white Bordeaux is complex and age worthy. When young, it has aromas and flavours of flowers, citrus, vanilla, lemon-lime, grapefruit and wet stone, but as it ages, the colour deepens and the wines take on additional characteristics of freshly cut grass, honey, butterscotch, spice and minerality. The best are creamy on the finish and will age well for up to ten years. The other famous Bordeaux blend with Sauvignon Blanc is the renowned sweet Sauternes from Graves. These are generally composed mostly of Sémillon with additions of Sauv Blanc to add acidity and freshness and, occasionally, Muscadelle. Like the equally famous Tokay from Hungary, the richness of these wines comes from the grapes being infected when ripe with Botrytis cinerea mould (often called the “noble rot”) that shrivels the grapes, intensifying sugars and adding honey and tropical fruit notes. The first innovator with Sauvignon Blanc outside France was Robert Mondavi, who developed an oak-fermented and aged version he called Fumé Blanc and first released in 1966. I remember watching a fascinating interview with him about twenty years ago where he explained how this came to be. He made a Sauvignon Blanc and was concerned how it would sell, as most California versions at the time rightfully had a terrible reputa-


March Pages 2017
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