Sauternes wines facts
Sauternes is one of the 6 wine-making regions of the Bordeaux Vineyard.
It is also considered the finest sweet white wine in the world!
This wine has 6 AOC-AOP:
Barsac, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur, Côtes de Bordeaux, Crémant de Bordeaux, Sauternes, and 1 IGP – Atlantique.
The wine producing region unfolds in Sauternes, Barsac, Bomme, Fragues and Preignac, five communities located to the south-east end of the Graves region near Langon.
Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle thrive in the small walled vineyards established on the region’s low hills.
The vines indeed enjoy optimum climatic and environmental conditions in order to produce a splendid, elegant and complex sweet white wine.
The importance of the Noble Rot
Sauternes wines owe their particular flavour to Botyris Cinerea or Noble Rot.
The vines benefit from the influence of the Garonne and Ciron rivers, which generate a mild micro-climate and adequate levels of moisture.
September morning fogs trigger the development of the microscopic fungus that affects particularly the Sémillon shortly before the harvest.
Fully coated, the grapes ripen in the afternoon sun.
They loose some of their water contents and develop a higher level of sugar – there is no regulation on the amount of residual sugar.
Sauternes wines must have a minimum 13% alcohol level and be significantly sweet in order to qualify for the AOC Sauternes.
However, the Noble Rot doesn’t develop every year, and in that case these wines are commercialized as AOC Bordeaux.
The golden Sauternes wines became famous during the 18th century, when the understanding and utilization of the Noble Rot was accepted as a wine producing technique.
Sauternes have incomparable aromas of candies, fruit jellies, honey, dried fruits and vanilla with sublime floral notes.
They are delicate, lively, powerful and dense yet light and fine wines with a very stable and elegant aromatic.
Amazingly, the great vintages can keep over a century!
They should be served at 9C° with foie gras and desserts, but also with fish and poultry.
The most celebrated is Château Yquem, which is the only Sauternes Premier Grand Cru Classé.
The price of this outstanding, very rare and sought after wine can reach astronomical sums, because of its quality and very high cost of production.
The old fortress of Château Yquem overlooks the vineyard that unfolds on a gentle slope.
An efficient water drainage system was put in place during the 19th century in order to properly drain the vineyard’s sandy-clayey soil.
Barsac wines are exclusively produced in the commune of Barsac and were granted an AOC in 1936.
The 600ha vineyard is located within the Sauternes vineyard, on the western bank of the river Ciron.
However, it is entitled to use either the Sauternes or Barsac AOC.
The Barsac AOC is in full expansion.
More and more wine growers indeed promote their wines under the sole Barsac appellation.
The vines extract their nutrients from the sandy and limy soil of the alluvial plain and surrounding slopes.
They produce dryer and lighter bodied wines.
The sweet white Barsac wines have a beautiful bright golden colour and very distinct aromas of hazelnuts, honey, candied fruit with vanilla notes.
They are dense, complex and rich, yet fresh and lively wines; they keep at least 10 years and the great vintages over 100 years!
They should be served at 8C° with foie gras, desserts and white meats.