£13.50, The Wine Society
This is the debut dry wine from a Sauternes Grand Cru and it's delicious. Fresh herbs, grass, dried flowers, chamomile and nectarine on the nose meet a succulent, creamy palate with refreshing notes of green tea, grapefruit peel and acacia honey.
It's a great advertisement for Bordeaux Sémillon, which accounts for 85% of the blend and often goes uncelebrated in favour of fashionable Sauvignon Blanc. And, while no one wants to see Sauternes disappear, wines like this make the case for producing dry white wines alongside, when Sauternes is so difficult to sell.
It comes from 40-year-old vines and from grapes that are hand-picked on the verge of botrytis, the point at which the aromas will be at their most intense in the subsequent wine (Château d'Arche is using a pioneering study it undertook with ISVV, the Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin, to measure the diversity and quantity of the aromatic precursors from botrytis). The wine is then matured on its lees for six months, partly in Sauternes barrels, reinforcing the Sauternes link.
Try it with creamy or lemony pasta, chicken, fish or sea food, white asparagus, roast pork, or pork chops. 13%. Empty bottle weight: 613g.
A de Château d'Arche Bordeaux Blanc Sec 2020, France
£13.95, The Wine Society