Verdict: White Bordeaux 2018 Vintage


Domaine de Chevalier White 2018

Every vintage, three whites are always at the top. Haut-Brion, La Mission and Domaine de Chevalier. You may also mistake them – particularly in hot years – for being great Burgundies when the whites are 25, 30 and more years old. With this youngster thought, the richness of fruit and minerality is held by persistent freshness. That said, the acidity is not as linear as in previous years.


Chateau Haut-Brion White 2018

It’s always a hard choice whether one prefers Haut-Brion over La Mission or the other way around. This dilemma is not only confined to the white but also with the reds. The ideal situation is of course not to have to exercise a preference but to enjoy the both. That, though, is a luxury which requires deep pockets. Fortunately, wine journalists are able to savour both because of our work. Haut-Brion always has more fat over La Mission and is, therefore, relatively more glycerol. This is not to say that it is not rivetingly fresh. Which it is. The blend says it all, 80.6% sauvignon blanc and 19.4% semillon.


La Mission Haut-Brion White 2018

The richness goes up another notch with this white grand vin following La Clarte de Haut Brion. So too the charged freshness. When you experience white Bordeaux at this level, you realise that it is not only Burgundy that produces the greatest dry white wine of France. (The Rhone too but that’s another story). Comprised of 57.4% sauvignon blanc and 42.6% semillon, the richness of the lime/lemon zesty fruit is still so very wound up!

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4 1/2 STARS

La Clarte de Haut-Brion 2018

This is the combined white second wine of La Mission and Chateau Haut-Brion first launched 10 years ago with the 2009 vintage. Semillon dominates at 79.2%, with 20.8% sauvignon blanc. Delicate vanilla notes with intense, taut citrus fruit. Elegant, fine, fresh and medium-plus-ish bodied.


Pavillon Blanc de Chateau Margaux 2018

The most vivacious Pavillon Blanc of the last decade. Grapefruit, unripe pineapples and freshness to blow the kilts off a marching Scottish band.  No malolactic fermentation was visited on the wine.



Aile d’Argent 2018

This is the white wine of Mouton. The first vintage was 1983 and mainly for the pleasure of the proprietors and their guests. Bright green straw. Grapefruit, limes and green pineapple. Intensity. Medium-plus bodied.


Chateau Fourcas Hosten White 2018

The 2 ha vineyard – in front of the chateau – was first planted in 2012 (it used to a plot of merlot). The first 2014 vintage only yielded 1,500 bottles. The 2018 harvest rewarded with 7,200 bottles. The wine – comprised of 70% sauvignon blanc, 18% sauvignon gris and 12% semillon – is an unmitigated success. Grapefruit, lime/lemon zest, light pineappley with a delicate glycerol texture.


Chateau Latour-Martillac White 2018 

Tientsin pear, lime zest and minerality. Intensity of fruit, balanced and very fresh. Comprised of 54% sauvignon blanc and 46% semillon. The late Denis Dubourdieu began consulting for the white wine in 1985. Following his death in July 2016, his former assistant Axel Marchal has assumed that role.


Chateau Lespault-Martillac White 2018

A touch reductive. Grapefruit and lime zest. There is intensity, elegant richness and finishing round freshness in this Pessac-Leognan.


L’Esprit de Chevalier 2018 White

Nutmegs, citrus, pears and a pinch of vanilla oak. Freshness, elegance and texture without a hint of heaviness.


Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere White 2018

Citrus including pomelo, and nutmegs. As with the red, the oak is very well handled to complement the richness of fruit. This Pessac-Leognan is about full-bodied.


Rieussec Sec 2018

Grapefruit citrussy with a hint of passionfruit. The acidity is very elegant. The dry white of Chateau Rieussec of Sauternes.


S de Suduiraut 2018

Another dry white from Sauternes which shows that such wines from the region can approach the quality of Pessac-Leognan. S de Suduiraut may not carry AOC Sauternes as that continues to be reserved for the rich, sweet wines. Tight pineappley fruit with a vanilla aspect. Richness but also freshness. Aged entirely in oak barrels for 9 months, 15% of which was new, 70% 1-year old and 15% 2-year old. Annual production is only 500 to 600 cases.


3 1/2 TO 4 STARS

Clarendelle Bordeaux White 2018

It’s no wonder this Bordeaux blanc is so well made when you realise that it is produced by the team at Domaine Clarence Dillon, proprietors also of Chateau Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion. Delicate grapefruit and Nashi pear. Incredibly balanced, elegant and fresh.


Domaine de la Solitude White 2018

As with the red wine, the Pessac-Leognan of this religious order has been produced by the Domaine de Chevalier team since 1993. A touch reductive. Bright citrussy grapefruit and minerality.


Chateau Gazin Rocquencourt White 2018

The vineyard is just 2.5 ha. Citrussy fruit nicely balanced with vanilla oak. There is also a mineral aspect. Wonderful lift on the finish.


La Reserve de Malartic White 2018 

Grapefruit/green guava with a light vinosity and lots of freshness. A blend of 80% sauvignon blanc and 20% semillion. This Pessac-Leognan just adds to the evidence that 2018 is an outstanding vintage for dry Bordeaux whites.


3 1/2 STARS

Blanc Sec de Suduiraut 2018

Guava/pineappley-ish fruit textured by a supple freshness. Comprised of 53% semillon and 47% sauvignon blanc. Aged 55% in barrels (5% of which was new) and 45% in stainless steel vats for 6 months.


Clos des Lunes Lune d’Argent 2018

Olivier Bernard took out a lease on this vineyard in Sauternes and started producing a range of dry whites called Clos des Lunes. In the process, it established his reputation as one of the most far-sighted vigenerons in Bordeaux and also revived the fortune of the vineyard. Citrus and guavas with a soft glycerol texture. Only 20% of the wine was aged in oak. Annual production is about 180,000 bottles.


Clos des Lunes Lune d’Or 2018

Grapefruit and vanilla oak. Richer but, from my point of view, not necessarily better. Only 20 barrels or 6,000 bottles are produced a year. The oak component is more evident. Vanilla and grapefruit.


Chateau Marjosse White 2018

This is the property of Pierre Lurton, CEO of Chateau Cheval Blanc and Yquem. Situated in the Entre-deux-Mers, whether white or red, Marjosse always over delivers. Citrus/appley fruit lifted by quenching freshness.


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