Denis Dubourdieu Clos Floridene Blanc Grand Vin de Graves 2011

Deep yellow color; grapefruit, lemon on the nose; lime, lemon, pink grapefruit, gooseberry, chamomile on the palate.

Denis Dubourdieu Clos Floridene Blanc Grand Vin de Graves 2011

Dry; light, fresh, mouthwatering after six years; creamy, a surprise with sauvignon blanc, but not so much with a white Bordeaux. Hints of quinine from mid-palate through long finish that urges you to sip again. This is a classic white Bordeaux blend of sauvignon blanc and sémillon, with a whisper of muscadelle—percentages vary depending on where you look, but sauv blanc is the lead grape.

The vintage is interesting since this bottle was sent to me recently by the importer, Joanne Bordeaux–USA. Six years is a long time in white wine years, but this has held up well. Some things have faded—I don’t get grassy, I don’t get cutting acidity, the nose is light—but I do get silkiness and very enjoyable drinkability, likely enhanced by the years. Maybe that is the importer’s point—quality Graves white Bordeaux wines mature and evolve rather than falling apart. The maturation changes make this more a sipping wine rather than food pairing one, although this will still work with food. But why not allow this tasty treat to play the lead role?

Clos Floridène is a 99-acre estate located near Barsac in the Graves appellation; the Clos Floridene area where white grapes for this bottle were harvested is almost 68 acres. The late Denis Dubourdieu and his wife, Florence, took control of the operation in 1982. A celebrated maker of white wines and professor of oenolology at the University of Bordeaux, Denis was called “the most famous scientist” of white wines in Bordeaux, also the “Pope of white Bordeaux wines.” Denis died in 2016 at age 67. Florence and her sons, Fabrice and Jean-Jacques run the operation today.

Denis Dubourdieu Clos Floridene Blanc Grand Vin de Graves 2011 is an impressive white Bordeaux that holds onto and builds attractive elements after six years. The sauv blanc lends its lemon-lime-grapefruit, while the sémillon rounds things out and imparts elegance and enjoyable mouthfeel. Pair with neutral wine crackers and gruyere, goat cheese, fondu, crème fraîche over fruit dessert; also will pair with usual sauv blanc fish and salads, but this bottle—at this age—can be the center of attention, not a complement to a feast. $17-25

Denis Dubourdieu website

Denis Dubourdieu
Florence Dubourdieu
Dubourdieu family
Clos Floridene winery and vineyard