1. Château Ducasse Bordeaux Blanc - Hervé Dubourdieu’s charm and modest disposition are complemented by his focus and ferocious perfectionism.
He a homebody, spending most of his time with his family in his modest, tasteful home, surrounded by his vineyards in the Sauternes and Graves appellations on the left bank of the Garonne estuary of the Gironde river.
Hervé is incredibly hard on himself. Despite the pedigree and complexity of the terroir and the quality of the wines, he has never been satisfied to rest on his reputation, always striving to outdo himself. His still whites are very different from others from their appellations. Hervé blends a high proportion of Sémillon (60%) and a splash of Muscadelle (5%) with Sauvignon Blanc (35%). These are the only permitted white grape varities in Bordeaux, and complement each other well: the Sauvignon provides freshness, acidity, citrus and green fruit, Sémillon provides weight and richness, and finally the Muscadelle provides intensely grapey, floral aromas and flavors.
While it's increasingly common to have cheaper Bordeaux whites be zippy, funky 100% Sauvignon Blancs (and nothing wrong with that), this is a great example of a slightly more complex, classic Bordeaux white without the weight, richness, and price tag, of, say, a Pessac-Leognan. This is the perfect go-to white that pair well with anything from herbed fish to roasted poultry, picnic fare to Indian or Thai curries.
2. Château Lamothe Castera Bordeaux - Lamothe Castera is a 75-hectare estate located in the Entre-deux-Mers area of Bordeaux. It’s owned by Renaud and Claire Jean, who fashion the wine from both Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The grapes for Lamothe Castera come from 30-year-old vines. The wine is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot aged in stainless steel tanks. The resulting wine has rich, dark fruit--cherry, blackberry, and plum, with hints of dark chocolate and mocha.
Entre-Deux-Mers is situated between the rivers Garonne and Dordogne, which flow into the great Gironde river and empy into the Atlantic. The name of the region comes not from the French word "mer" ("sea"), but from "marée" ("tide"). Thus, it means "between two tides." An ocean of fresh and affordable Bordeaux blanc is produced here, as well as red Bordeaux. The area is responsible for three quarters of the red wine sold under the generic Bordeaux AOC or Bordeaux supérieur labels.
Lamothe Castera is a perfect example of how appealing these wines can be--not the imposing, pricey Bordeaux of storied Left Bank châteaux, meant to age for decades, but fresh and vibrant, unoaked reds bursting with red and black fruit, with a restraining core of gentle tannin. You could age it for a couple years if you wanted to, but at $15 a bottle, you may as well pop it open, pour it into a decanter and drink it, with some poulet roti or mushroom gratin.