Skip to main content

Notes from a Sauternes tasting

Drinking good Sauternes can be moving. Is it because of its great power of expression, its luscious sweetness, its fathomless depth? Or is it because I hardly ever drink Sauternes on a 'normal' day? In a way Sauternes appears like a Harp does in a concert: at the highlight. In an attempt to have a great evening last forever, we return to our cellar to dive up one of our golden treasures. Nine out of ten bottles are enjoyed within this best possible environment: among friends, who are all reluctant to call it a day.

Château Climens and Château Suduiraut
Most bottles that I enjoy are lonely bottles. For example one to wrap up the evening, or one as the very last bottle of a tasting. It's not a deliberate thing, but I am not drinking Sauternes every week, or every month... but after the tasting of last weekend I know that I will shift my attention – again – to this great classic region. If only it were to experiment with new wine-food pairings; there are so many more possibilities than the obliged combination with cheese for desert. Just to mention one of the inspiring things that were told during this afternoon – I do not remember if it was one of the château owners who said this, or Sauternes connoisseur Bill Blatch, who introduced the producers at this tasting.

Bill BlatchBORDEAUX WINE MERCHANT BILL BLATCH (VINTEX). BLATCH IS SPECIALISED IN THE WINES FROM SAUTERNES, AND IS GENERALLY REGARDED AS ONE OF THE AUTHORITIES ON THIS SUBJECT.

The tasting that I'm talking about was organised by the Amsterdam-based wine merchant Ton Overmars. A great tasting with both a vertical aspect – comparing three vintages from one château – and two horizontal ones: comparing five different châteaux, and comparing the two appellations Barsac and Sauternes. We tasted 15 wines:

1. Château Climens (Barsac) 2005, 2002 and 1999
2. Château Coutet (Barsac) 2005, 2002 and 1999
3. Château Giraud (Sauternes) 2005, 2002 and 1998
4. Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey (Sauternes) 2005, 2003 and 1998
5. Château Suduiraut (Sauternes) 2005, 2002 and 1999

Baly, Vos, Overmars, Dedieu, LurtonFROM LEFT TO RIGHT: PHILIPPE BALY FROM CHATEAU COUTET, EDWIN VOS FROM POOT AGENTUREN, TON OVERMARS, CAROLINE DEDIEU FROM CHATEAU SUDUIRAUT AND BERENICE LURTON-THOMAS FROM CHATEAU CLIMENS. UNFORTUNATELY MISSING ON THESE PICTURES IS LAURE PLANTY FROM CHATEAU GUIRAUD.

The appellation Barsac lies directly north of Sauternes, at the other side of the small river Ciron, on lower grounds close to the river Garonne. The sediments that have been deposited onto the limestone subsoil – throughout the many many thousands of years – have here been largely taken away again by the river. Other than in Sauternes, where the limestone lies deeper, and where the vines grow on hills with gravel and pebbles. This accounts for a difference in the style of the wines. Barsac (which may also be called Sauternes or Barsac-Sauternes) produces wines that are slightly lighter than Sauternes.

After decades of misery in Sauternes (for a long time there was hardly any interest in the wines from this region, which understandably didn't have a positive effect on the quality of most wines) it is good to see that the region is fully back on track. The overall quality of the wines is high. My personal favourite is Clos Haut-Peyraguey, all three years of this wine are very good. It is just too bad that they just replaced their very characteristic label for a mediocre modern one. The old label of Clos Haut-Peyraguey has this convincing, forward and original typeface. Too bad, but well, what matters is what's behind the label.

Anthony Defives, cellar master Château Clos Haut-PeyragueyTHE TALENTED CELLAR MASTER ANTHONY DEFIVES WHO WORKS FOR MARTINE LANGLAIS-PAULY FROM CHATEAU CLOS HAUT-PEYRAGUEY.

All 2005s are really great; very rich with sometimes high amounts of residual sugar (e.g. Climens with 170 grams per litre, and a very impressive wine...). The 2005 vintage showed both wines of an outstanding quality, and the yields were much bigger than in 'normal' years. 2002 is a good vintage, more modest in character, often spicy. Especially Suduiraut gives a lot of pleasure. Within the 1998s and 1999s there is more variety in quality, with the best results it seems from the higher grounds.

Comments

Paul Conlon said…
Two questions -

Your view of the 2007 versus the 2009 vintages in terms of Botrytis content and secondly your opionon on the development of the 2001 vintage. Comments on the 2001 Lafaurie Peraguey are welcome.
David said…
Hi Paul, Sauternes 2007 is very good, 2009 I will taste soon in Bordeaux. Will write about that on the blog later. Best, David
Bill said…
David: The Overmars Sauternes tasting was a lot of fun, wasn't it? I really appreciated your enthusiasm too. We must do another one! I really agree about the 98s, 02s etc, and the 05s were - and still are - looking fabulous.
Bill Blatch
www.bordeauxgold.com

Popular posts from this blog

Bordeaux 2017 aanraders - de grootste wijnen

Evenals vorig jaar geven we met plezier onze volstrekt subjectieve lijst met gaafste rode wijnen van het jaar. We hebben bijna alles geproefd van Bordeaux 2017, maar geen Petrus en Lafleur. Binnenkomen bij Petrus is zo'n gedoe dat we dat na jaren proeven maar laten voor wat het is. Lafleur pakken we volgend jaar graag weer mee. Maar zoals is te zien hebben we toch wel weer ons best gedaan.

19½
Cheval Blanc 2017
Latour 2017
Léoville-las-Cases 2017
Palmer 2017
Vieux Château Certan 2017

19+
Ausone 2017
Canon 2017
Haut-Bailly 2017
Lafite Rothschild 2017
l’Eglise-Clinet 2017
La Conseillante 2017
Le Pin 2017
Léoville Barton 2017
Margaux 2017
Montrose 2017
Pontet-Canet 2017

19
Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse 2017
Clos Fourtet 2017
Cos d’Estournel 2017
Domaine de Chevalier rouge 2017
Grand Puy Lacoste 2017
Haut-Brion 2017
l’Evangile 2017
l’If 2017
La Mission Haut-Brion 2017
Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2017
Lynch Bages 2017
Mouton Rothschild 2017
Pavie Macquin 2017
Rauzan-Ségla 2017

18½+
Calon Ségur 20…

Bordeaux 2017 - het herrezen jaar

We zijn terug van vijf dagen proeven, een dikke 8 uur per dag Bordeaux 2017's proeven. Een ervaring rijker, zeker als je de wijnen meetelt die we in de avonden proefden, en dronken. Het meest bijzonder waren wel de Poujeaux 1928 en de Domaine de Chevalier rouge 1928. Ongelofelijke wijnen en een ongekende tijdreis van 90 jaar. Een bijkans mystieke ervaring.


Of wat te denken van de witte Latour Martillac 1948. Toen we een paar dagen later op het château de 2017's proefden hoorden we van de keldermeester dat er die week 2 van de 6 nog aanwezige flessen Blanc 1948 uit de kelder waren gehaald - zelf had hij deze jaargang nooit geproefd. De avond waar al deze bijzondere flessen werden ontkurkt was het jaarlijkse diner van de Académie du Vin de Bordeaux.

Het thema die avond: wijnen uit jaren eindigend op 8. Dus dronken we bij het eten achtereenvolgens Latour 1978, Mouton 1988, Lafite 1998, Haut-Brion 2008 en Yquem 2008, deels uit magnums en dubbele magnums. Het was een leerzame avond…

Bordeaux 2017 vorst slachtoffers

Het Bordeaux 2017 verslag komt eraan. Er wordt aan gewerkt. In de vorige posting noemde ik al de vorst die eind april 2017 heeft toegeslagen. Bij de volgende domeinen was de schade zo groot dat de wijnen niet en-primeur zullen worden aangeboden.

• Côte de Baleau 2017 • Dassault 2017 • Larmande 2017 • La Tour Figeac 2017 • Montviel 2017 • Siaurac & Plaisir de Siaurac 2017 • Doisy Védrines 2017 • Nairac 2017 • Brun 2017 • Clos du Jaugueyron 2017 • Chantegrive Blanc & Rouge 2017 • Fieuzal Blanc & Rouge 2017 • Fleur de Boüard 2017 • Fugue de Nénin 2017 • La Pointe 2017 • Mauvesin Barton 2017 • Retout Blanc 2017 • Bolaire 2017 • Arsac 2017 • Camensac 2017 • Climens 2017 • Fleur Cardinale 2017 • Fonbel 2017 • Haut Bergey Blanc & Rouge 2017 • Laroze 2017 • Chauvin 2017 • Marjosse Rouge 2017 • Mille Roses 2017 • Arums de Lagrange 2017 • Corbin 2017 • Gironville 2017 • Grand Corbin 2017 • Grand Corbin Despagne 2017 • Chante Alouette 2017 • Des Annereaux 2017
Van sommige wijnen …