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Château Rieussec is one of the biggest estates in Sauternes-Barsac, covering 93 hectares of gravelly sandy-clay soils. The property used to belong to the Carmelite monks but was confiscated during the French Revolution and put up for sale in the 1970s at which time it was purchased by the owner of Château La Louvière. The Domaine changed hands many times until 1984 when it was purchased by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite).
Since then, new systems have been put in place to facilitate meticulous selection of the grapes to make the Grand Vin. In 1989 investements were made in a new barrel room that allowed them to extend the ageing period of their wines. The latest renovation of the domaine took place in 2000 when a new fermentation room was built and the pressing areas were also modernised.
“The wines of Sauternes are so wonderful that we wanted to have our own, and Rieussec’s vineyard is outstanding.
Baron Eric de Rothschild
The best sweet appellations in Bordeaux are located on the banks of the Garonne River and its tributary the Ciron. Sauternes lies on the west bank of the Garonne, where there are perfect conditions for Botrytis cinerea (widely known as “noble rot”) to develop on fully ripened grapes. This fungus dries out the grapes, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavoured wines. The grape varieties used in Sauternes are Sémillon, which is very susceptible to botrytis, Sauvignon Blanc, which adds refreshing acidity and Muscadelle, known for its exotic character aromas. The level of noble rot varies from year to year, for that reason, sometimes is necessary to do ‘Passerillage’ in vintages where there is little noble root in the grapes.