Sauternes is a wine appellation located in the Graves region of Bordeaux, France. The history of Sauternes dates back to the 17th century when the Dutch drained the...
Sauternes is a wine appellation located in the Graves region of Bordeaux, France. The history of Sauternes dates back to the 17th century when the Dutch drained the marshes and created a unique microclimate that allowed for the production of sweet wines. The appellation covers five communes: Sauternes, Barsac, Bommes, Fargues, and Preignac.
The style of production in Sauternes is unique and labor-intensive. The grapes are left on the vine until they are affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. This fungus causes the grapes to shrivel and concentrate the sugars, resulting in a sweet and complex wine. The grapes are harvested by hand in several passes, selecting only the grapes that have been affected by noble rot. This process can take up to six weeks and requires perfect weather conditions.
The main grape variety grown in Sauternes is Semillon, which accounts for around 80% of the plantings. Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle are also grown, but in smaller quantities. Semillon is a thin-skinned grape that is susceptible to noble rot, making it ideal for the production of sweet wines. Sauvignon Blanc adds acidity and freshness to the blend, while Muscadelle contributes floral and fruity aromas.
The typical wines from Sauternes are sweet, complex, and age-worthy. They have a golden color and aromas of honey, apricot, and orange peel. On the palate, they are rich and full-bodied, with flavors of dried fruit, caramel, and spice. The sweetness is balanced by a refreshing acidity, which gives the wine a long and elegant finish.
The most famous producer in Sauternes is Chateau d'Yquem, which has been producing wine since the 18th century. Their wines are considered some of the best in the world and are highly sought after by collectors. Other notable producers include Chateau Suduiraut, Chateau Coutet, and Chateau Rieussec.
In conclusion, Sauternes is a unique and prestigious wine appellation that produces some of the world's finest sweet wines. The labor-intensive production process and the unique microclimate make these wines rare and expensive. Semillon is the main grape variety grown, and the wines are characterized by their sweetness, complexity, and age-worthiness. Chateau d'Yquem is the most famous producer in the region, but there are many other excellent producers to discover.