2018 Petit Freylon Bordeaux Blanc
If there is one thing in wine-life that I love, it’s value. Sure, my wine budget is pretty darn big. As Thomas Jefferson famously noted of wine—and I wholeheartedly agree— “it is essential in life.” Yet even I can’t spring for First Growth Bordeaux Blanc every time I sit down to Lobster Thermidor. Yet I want that First Growth every time, even if my wallet cries, “No, no!”
Which brings us to this wine – Chateau Petit Freylon. It satisfies my wallet as well as my palate, in a deep and sensuous way.
We usually associate Bordeaux with red wine – and for good reason, they make some of the world’s best reds. Yet they also make white wines. This tradition is as ancient as Chateau Y’quem being “above all others” in terms of Bordeaux’s ranking system. Relatively new to the scene is Bordeaux blanc sec, meaning dry white wine (usually a blend of Sauv Blanc and Semillon) from Bordeaux. “New” as in the last 50 or so years, and it’s taken off. Today we have an outstanding example:
The nose unfurls with aromas of orange blossoms, white peaches, kaffir lime leaf and hints of crushed oyster shell, ginger, Pomelos and kumquat. In a word, complexity. It lifts you up into its enticing aromas and draws you deeper into the glass, pursuing the luxuriously yummy taste. Next you find all the intense citrus and chalky layers on a full-bodied palate, one that’s lifted by the wine’s bold freshness and incredible length. It is stunning. The top First Growths all make white wines like this – for prices that can range easily into the hundreds of dollars.
But Bordeaux is also a big place, one of the largest growing areas for vine in all of France. And as such, it has opportunity for newcomers – new talent, new ideas, and new investment. And that’s what’s going on here.
Chateau Petit Freylon lies in the tiny village of Saint-Genis-du-Bois, and while it had been producing wine for generations, it wasn’t until 2011 when it found its place with a new family that reinvested in the vineyards, winery, and brought on a new winemaking team. Outside but near Pessac-Legonan / Graves, Chateau Petit Freylon set out to make outstanding wine of their terroir, bringing their wine to the forefront with an expression that, to this palate, competes with the top growths in those areas.
Indeed, when I first tasted it, I assumed it was at Top Growth prices – $75 to $150 a bottle. I was utterly stunned when the actual cost was revealed. But you don’t need to be stunned because the proof is waiting in the bottle, ready to jump into your glass.