No other wine is subtler than Sauternes… Recognizable among all with its golden look, it is unique thanks to many characteristics.
A special region
Sauternes is firstly different through its localization, quite far from most of the Bordeaux appellations. Located on the South of Graves region, its area is bound by Garonne valley on East and Landes forest on West. It counts 5 districts: Barsac, Bommes, Fargues, Preignac and Sauternes. It is composed by 2 000 vineyards hectares managed by 240 producers. 2 AOC have been created: Sauternes and Barsac. 26 High Growth have been classified in 1855 with 11 First Growth and only one Superior First Growth: Château d’Yquem.
A happy coincidence?
Two stories exist about Sauternes origins: one tells that in 1836, a German born Bordeaux trader waited the end of long autumnal rains to start harvesting the grapes. The ripe grapes produced then an incredibly syrupy wine. The other story explains that the Lur-Saluce marquis (owner of Yquem) was delayed by a hunt in Russia and demanded to wait for him to start the grape harvest. He let the Botrytis mushroom developing itself and creating the famous noble rot that gives this particular taste to the wine. Either legend or reality, the Sauternes story is above all linked to the presence of Dutch traders in this region. They were indeed keen of withe wine and turned producers toward sweet white wines with residual sugar. From 18e century, the noble rot is officially used and the grape harvest is made lately and gradually in purpose, in order to get the most possible ripe grape. Thomas Jefferson, who was the future United-Stated president, tasted this particular wine in 1741 and ordered 85 boxes of 12 bottles to Lur-Saluce marquis: the success of Sauternes was born.
A favorable nature, a subtle elixir
Sauternes identity comes also from its soil: mostly composed by marl, clay and grave in round shapes, it gives a white shade to the ground and captures perfectly the sun’s rays. It benefits from a microclimate that favors morning mists, hold above the vineyard by the Landes forest. The vineyard takes then advantage from mildness and heat of the region during the rest of the day. The majority vine is the sémillon. Its thin skin enables a perfect development of the botrytis but it remains very fragile and sensitive to rain. It is a delicate and refined grape variety that gives to the Sauternes all that aromatic thinness. Sauvignon and muscadelle are also added in weak proportions. During the tasting, the flower and fruits flavors are strongly powerful and Sauternes presents a complex and balanced bouquet. Apricot, roasted peach, pineapple but also floral notes of lime tree, mimosa and acacia… The flavor explosion is unique, the mouth is elegant ant the ageing capacity is…almost eternal.
U’Wine has tasted the following Sauternes for the latest events:
- Château Sigalas Rabaud 2001, 2006
- Château Suduiraut 2007
- Château Yquem 1996 in Magnum
- Château La Tour Blanche 2007
- Château Rayne Vigneau 2001 en Magnum
- Château Coutet 2006
As you can see, we like drinking the Sauternes and sharing this wine with our Clients for every occasion at the end of the tasting.