Chateau Coutet Opalie Bordeaux

Coutet’s Aline Baly introduced this unusual wine to me as “big bold and beautiful!” That it is. The company has been experimenting with a dry white for some years, but this is its first release. It’s a serious commitment, technically challenging for a company and a region built around sweet wines, with a new winemaking facility dedicated expressly to this cuvée, a big commitment for a production limited to a tiny 3,000 bottles. The wine is harvested before botrytis sets in and blended from equal parts of sauvignon and semillon, fermented in 60% new French oak. For the first vintage, this is a laudable result, a reflection of the care and attention that has been put into it. Full-bodied and complex, it’s deeply textured and beautifully focused, with taut acid drive and powerful fruit concentration of succulent pear, crunchy apple, lemon blossom and spice. Its proportions are sufficient that its 14.5% alcohol slots seamlessly into place. $85 at Gangemis.