Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Grape of the Month: Bourboulenc

According to the index of topics in the left sidebar, I've never reviewed a wine with Bourboulenc grapes in it. I'm sure I've tasted it before, but not since I started this blog.

Perhaps that's not too surprising. As best as I can make out, there are only about 2000 acres of the grape in cultivation. And the wine is mostly used in white blends, where it can be paired with Rhône varieties such as Roussanne and Marsanne. Bourboulenc has a lot of acidity, and can lighten and brighten white wines.

Recently I had a wine that included Bourboulenc grapes: the 2007 Château La Canorgue Côtes du Luberon Blanc from the southeastern Rhône ($18.00, domaine547). The wine had a lot of character and was made from a combination of Bourboulenc, Clairette, Marsanne, and Roussanne. It was round and full, but light and fresh at the same time--a fascinating set of contradictions. Aromas of pears, citrus, and flowers welcome you into the tastes, which are along a similar spectrum of white orchard fruits (apple, pear), citrus (lemon and a bit of bitter orange as the wine warms), and even some floral and mineral notes.This wine is organic and biodynamic as well, and delivers excellent QPR with its complexity and price point. If you like white Châteauneuf-du-Papes, but don't like paying the steep prices they often command in the market, this is the wine for you.

As an added bonus, this is one of the few wines that I've had that didn't clash with artichokes. We had it with the vegetarian-friendly Pasta with Almond-Herb Pesto and Artichokes. The round yet fresh flavor profile went nicely with the zesty herbs, ricotta cheese, tomatoes, and even the artichokes that went into this dish.

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