Caillou Blanc, or as it is otherwise known, Talbot Blanc, is one of Medoc’s oldest dry white wines. The red wine is one of the most recognisable in the UK market, although it maintains a strong foothold in markets around the globe. It is not surprising it is so well known in the UK, as it is named after John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. In 1453, he lost the battle which allowed Bordeaux to win its vineyards back after 340 years under the stellar guidance of the English Crown, then ramp up prices 600 years later. John Talbot lost his life in said battle, but his name lives on eponymously in a truly great Estate.
Talbot red is quintessential Grand Cru claret, a leading Fourth Growth. Where the red embodies the classic Bordeaux style and flavour profiles, the white is a synthesis of Bordeaux and Burgundy: this makes it special. Stylistically it combines the best of these two great regions. It has plenty of integrated oak, rich, creamy flavour, with excellent acidity, harmony and crisp flavour profiles.
The 2016 has been released for £240 per case of 12. It is somewhere between an excellent 1er Cru Burgundy and a leading Pessac Bordeaux Blanc. At £20 a bottle it shows immense value for a wine of this quality and from a superb Grand Cru Estate. I also think that because it does not fit within the convention of Bordeaux white, rather embracing plenty of Burgundian characters, it is historically underscored and as a result great value. Many view it as one of the finest white wines in Bordeaux and given the obvious quality, it is a smart buy.
Georges Cordier owned the property in the mid 20th century. He was a big white wine lover and set himself the task of producing a world class white at the Estate, planting 5 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. In 1945, he produced his first crop of white wine, Le Caillou Blanc de Chateau Talbot. He wanted to create a Burgundian style, of said design, aged in oak barrels to provide smoke, toast flavours and harmony. Then to embody Bordeaux stylisation, blended from 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon, delivering a backbone of acidity, structure and weight. This provides excellent ageing potential, yet the ripeness of the 2016 vintage means that this will drink beautifully as soon as it is bottled.
Talbot Blanc displays smoke, toast and even some sweet spice, along with a delicate butter, rich baked apple, citrus and melon. Yet adds herbaceous nuance displaying sage and dill. The finish is crisp, rich and very appealing. In the context of the whites in 2016, the price and quality make it very attractive. It has the weight and power to drink with strong food flavours, the crispness to accompany a hot summers day and the elegance to drink by the glass alone. At £120 per case of six, or £240 per case of 12, this will reward greatly.
Talbot Blanc 2016, 12×75 – £240 EP
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