Bordeaux is full of good wine values, and if you try enough of them in the under-$20 range, you’re bound to find a few that you’ll go back to time and again. While this is certainly true of Bordeaux’s endless supply of red wines, it also applies to the region’s whites.
Like the reds, white Bordeaux is almost always a blend, with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon the two main grapes, and Muscadelle sometimes added to the mix. The three varieties are used in equal measure in Château du Champ des Treilles’ 2016 ‘Vin Passion’ Bordeaux, an outstanding value at about $15.
The vineyard, a small property of 24 acres in Sainte-Foy in the southeast corner of Bordeaux, has been run for 20 years or so by Corinne and Jean-Michel Comme, who farm organically and biodynamically, harvest by hand, and use only natural yeasts in the fermentation of their wines. Their property became one of the first organic vineyards in Bordeaux, a region where the method has been relatively slow to take hold.
On his website, which traces the vineyard’s evolution away from chemical interventions, Jean-Michel speaks about a “viticulture of respect” and “authenticity” in the wines — familiar talking points, to be sure, in the organic-biodynamic playbook. But the wine bears this out, revealing a “soul” that is not easy to find in the sea of wine that is Bordeaux.
The “Vin Passion” has unusual texture, length, and purity of fruit. The tastes reminded me of stone fruits, green apple skin, and citrus, with subtle floral and herbal notes, including a touch of mint. There’s a slightly creamy quality, from several months of aging on the lees in stainless steel tanks, that makes for a soft landing, so to speak, as the wine goes down.
The overall impression is one of freshness and complexity, in a sophisticated white wine that deserves a place among the best for the money in Bordeaux.