The southwest region of France is the largest in surface area, and the most diverse — with a variety of climates, soils and grapes.
One of its more northerly appellations, just southwest of Bordeaux, is Montravel — one of the first sub-regions to gain appellation status in France, in 1937.
Being so close to Bordeaux, it shares many of the same soils as its better-known neighbour. For whites, that means a blend of sauvignon blanc, sémillon and muscadelle. When done well, each grape brings something different to the ensemble: sauvignon blanc, the citrus fruit and acidity; sémillon, the texture and more delicate stone fruit and honey notes; and the muscadelle, the floral aromatics.
Much like white Bordeaux, these wines are some of the better-value offerings out there. As an aperitif or with pretty well any seafood or lighter fish, this is a blend that works.
Montravel 2015, Château Calabre, France white, $14.95, SAQ # 10258638. Classic Bordeaux white blend, but in a fresher style. You get crisp sauvignon citrus notes with a touch of honeyed sémillon texture, along with floral muscadelle aromatics. A lot of wine, for under $15. Residual sugar: 3.7 g/l. Serve at 8-10C. Drink now. Food pairing suggestion: Aperitif, smoked salmon and spinach quiche, smoked salmon and cream cheese with dill.