Château Talbot Caillou Blanc 2020
• Domaine: Château Talbot
• Appellation: Bordeaux Blanc
• Classification: Blanc Sec, Bordeaux
• Grape Varieties: 83% Sauvignon Blanc, 17% Sémillon
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
Caillou Blanc is produced by Château Talbot, which hosts the best qualities of Saint-Julien terroir – pulsing minerality, racing acidity and balance. Those who love a beautifully complex white Bordeaux from this fantastic appellation will no doubt have a strong affinity for Château Talbot Caillou Blanc, as many wine connoisseurs consider this Fourth Growth estate to be one of Saint Julien’s most impressive properties. Château Talbot is able to execute perfectly crafted red and white wines, which is a feat to be celebrated. The well-respected négociants, the Cordier family, have run this property for over a century. They oversee the daily operations at Château Talbot and will stop at nothing to produce some of the finest wines within their appellation. Désiré Cordier put it best when he said, “… To be an estate owner means, in a certain way, being in love with it.”
Legend has it the estate received its namesake from a British soldier named Connétable Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury, who was defeated at the battle of Castillon in 1453. It was classified as a Fourth Growth in 1855 and owned by the Marquis de Aux until it was purchased in 1918 by Désiré Cordier – the man who also oversaw the Second Growth estate, Gruaud Larose. The property has stayed within the Cordier family ever since and is currently run by Nancy Bignon Cordier, her husband Jean-Paul and their children. Georges Cordier, the grandfather of the current owners was one of the first to plant white varietals in the Médoc in the 1930s. He planted a mixture of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon at the property. The vines of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon thrive in the gravelly soil of the Médoc. The vines are 45 years old and subject to natural pest control. The promise of Château Talbot’s terroir is readily apparent based on its neighbors – Château Léoville Las Cases, Château Léoville Barton and Château Léoville Poyferré.
Every year during harvest time, the grapes are hand selected by a team of 120 people. The selection is rigorous, and only the ripest berries make their way into the grand vin. After their harvest, they make their way into the property’s state-of-the-art vat room. The vat room is an architectural marvel, with giant concrete columns emulating tree branches supporting the ceiling. The wine is aged on its lees and stirred, as is traditional in Burgundy.
After this, it is aged in new and neutral oak barrels, giving it just the right amount of toasty, vanilla qualities. This results in a balanced, lively wine with qualities of ripe peaches, pears, and apricots. The blending process is a team effort, where Nancy, Jean-Paul, and their consultants are Stéphane Derenoncourt and Eric Boissenot. Derenoncourt hosts an impressive resume, having worked for properties such as Domaine de Chevalier, Château Pavie Macquin, and even Napa properties like the Rubicon Estate Winery. Caillou Blanc is a special wine not only because of its quality, but because it is the only white wine produced in Saint-Julién.
"This is an confident and attractive Caillou Blanc, showing soft apricot and white pear flesh through the mid palate. Not hugely varietal, it is more about the texture of the wine, with bitter almonds on the finish that give both pep and focus." Jane Anson, Decanter, Bordeaux Primeur Week (04/30/2021) Rating: 92