Spotlight on Rhone Valley White Wine: Domaine Bois de Boursan Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc 2007

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Chateauneuf du Pape is, of course, famous for its red wines. In Vancouver particularly CdP is often the premium wine of choice for many novice buyers and moneyed collectors. Many wine geeks, however, have moved away from many Chateauneufs, which with ever better reviews from Robert Parker and ever increasing interest from the points crowd, have increased in price significantly. Despite this trend towards prestige pricing, the white wines of Chateauneuf still sit well under the radar of most collectors, and even many wine geeks.

Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc can be made from five different grapes – Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc and Picardan. Most predominantly use Grenache Blanc, though there are a few pure Roussannes that have gained a strong reputation (Beaucastel’s most notably). Bois de Boursan makes its white from a unique blend of 35% Clairette, 35% Grenache Blanc, 15% Roussanne and 15% Bourboulenc. Most of us, including myself, have never tasted pure Clairette or Bourboulenc so it is hard to tell exactly what these add to the flavours of the blend, but Jancis Robinson explains that the grapes are used in the southern Rhone to add aroma and acidity to a wine.

The wine is unique, presenting apple ginger spice cake on the subtle and not overly expressive nose. The wine tastes best at near room temperature, and along with the above flavours, has some dry minerality in the finish. Perhaps thiswas too young when I drank it, but I found it fairly closed, even as the mid-palate had serious structure. The medium acid held the wine together well enough so it didn’t become overly rich – but this is not a sprightly or crisp white.  Bois de Boursan uses barriques from Alsace and Borgogne for its wines and the old wood influence works quite well. I expect the wine will open with age, but it is not nearly as immediately delicious as the Northern Rhone whites.

Very Good+
$60 at Marquis Wine Cellars

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