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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
24 Jun 2011

From £8.95, €10.50, 131 Swedish krone, HK$165.

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Purple pager Gavin Quinney must be a pretty good salesman. He has managed to have his wine served as the house white chez both Gordon Ramsay and Rick Stein, completely unrelated world-famous television chefs. In fact Ch Beauduc Bordeaux Blanc has been Ramsay's house white (as witness this particular label) for 10 years now.

I'm delighted to say, however, that he is not such a persistent salesman that he has actively tried to sell his wines direct to me. (Thank you, Gavin.) I had to wait until From Vineyards Direct sent me three of their recent finds to try before being exposed to Ch Bauduc 2009 Bordeaux Blanc, which I strongly commend to you at the FVD price of £8.95 a bottle - the same price as the Quinneys sell from their warehouse in Surrey.

Ch Bauduc is one of those hundreds of properties in the pretty Entre-Deux-Mers region struggling to make a living and an impact on the international market. Gavin and Angela Quinney have been running this property near Créon in the far north of the region since Gavin went mad and bought it after a rush of blood to the head at Vinexpo exactly 12 years ago. You can read Jane Anson's short profile of them and the property here. They sell much of their wine direct (this is the link for this particular wine) - a wise alternative to being entangled in the middle-man-heavy conventional Bordeaux trade.

But this particular wine is also listed by the Swedish monopoly Systembolaget, by Well Spring Wines in Hong Kong, a handful of UK retailers and by From Vineyards Direct's Irish operation. It's a blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc with 40% of its richer near-relative Sémillon (see my comment below the Master of Wine 2011 tasting papers). It almost tastes Sémillon-dominant to me - there is certainly no excess of facile Sauvignon stink. In 2009 much of the fruit came from leased vineyards because the Quinneys lost 80% of their own grapes in two hailstorms in May 2009. (Note that the Quinneys also make a slightly cheaper 50:50 Entre Deux Mers dry white.)

What I liked about this wine was its crystal clear, particularly precise, piercing nose followed by attractive smokiness and good palate weight. In fact this has so much extract (no excessive yields here) that there is just a tiniest hint of the oiliness of some white Graves, but it rises above this to be a thoroughly fine dry white bordeaux (and it's much cheaper than most white Graves). Residual sugar is 2.94g/l and acidity is 3.9. I would chill this quite heavily for aperitif drinking but, served at room temperature, it would make a lovely wine at the table. Excellent value.

Gavin reports, 'being hit by hail wasn't the best, but we did get lots of encouragement following our homemade video on our blog. For more on the other vineyard and the harvest, see our hail blog'

One of From Vineyards Direct's plus points is their selection. They seem to try not to overwhelm their customers with too much choice but concentrate on a relatively small number of hand-picked relative bargains, in upmarket rather than supermarket bracket. I loved the bready zest their current Orleans Bourbon, Terrebreva NV Manzanilla at £6.95 a half bottle but cannot find any other stockist, alas. (I think it is Borbon, not Bourbon, as cited by FVD.) See my tasting note here.

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