Lineage of the Blanc du Bois Grape
Following my previous blog on harvesting the Blanc du Bois at Union Chappel Vineyards in Fulshear, Texas, “Ronebofh” on the LiveJournal wine community (http://community.livejournal.com/wine) requested some additional information on the hybrid lineage of Blanc du Bois (see above). This is an interesting grape with the breeding required to grow well in hot and humid areas in the southern United States.
Blanc du Bois has a citrus flavor to it. When strong it is a grapefruit like flavor predominant in dry wines. However, in sweet wines this is toned down a bit to a hints of citrus like lemon-lime and orange peel, with the muskiness of the Muscat is more pronounced in the dessert wines. It tends to pair well with seafood and chicken dishes.
As mentioned in previous posts, Haak Vineyards has done very well pioneering quality wines from the Blanc du Bois grape. Here are some comments from Raymond about his experiences with this grape. Raymond has acknowledged that he will likely spend the rest of his life, learning how to make and improve the quality and flavor characteristics of this grape.
He said, “I have tasted some very good Blanc du Bois from Enoch’s Stomp, Tara Vineyards and some of the best from Jerry Watson in Catspring, Texas.” He continued by saying, “I am currently making six different wines from this grape which are characterized as dry, reserve (barrel fermented/aged sur lie), semi-sweet, blush, Port-style and a Madeira Blanc du Bois.”
Despite his 2006 Madeira Blanc du Bois being awarded a gold medal and best dessert wine in its division/class at the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition, he firmly believes that Blanc du Bois still has untapped qualities and unique flavors to be discovered thru prudent growing & winemaking procedures.
Raymond said, “The biggest negative [with Blanc du Bois] is its lack of name recognition. When people taste it, they love it. I have blind tasted it against Spanish Albarino, Argentinean Torontes and California Sauvignon Blanc and I find it an equal if not better wine.
Raymond related one of the best complements that he had received on his Blanc du Bois was during a 2007 Wine Symposium that he attended in Santa Rosa, California. Raymond said, “I invited a couple of respected commercial California winemakers to my room one evening after class to taste my dry Blanc du Bois. When they tasted this wine, a senior winemaker looked up from his glass with excited eyes and asked, ‘Can you duplicate this?’ The assumption being it was a fluke or accident. I shared with him that I had produced over a 1,000 cases annually of this wine for the previous six vintages.”