The appellation Sauternes is located in the south of the Graves region, about 40km from the town of Bordeaux. It is undoubtedly the most prestigious Bordeaux appellation producing sweet wines only. Its vineyards cover nearly 1800 hectares and five communes: Sauternes, Fargues, Bommes, Preignac and Barsac (the latter also having its own appellation).
With 18 Grands Crus Classés en 1855 (out of 27 in the Sauternes and Barsac AOCs combined), including a Premier Grand Cru Supérieur, the Sauternes appellation enjoys a unique terroir and conditions that are conducive to the development of noble rot, which gives birth to these precious nectars.
The Great Wines of Sauternes are of unparalleled complexity and intensity, expressing an olfactory symphony with notes of citrus, white flesh fruits, flowers and honey. On the palate, they are full-bodied, unctuous and elegant, without heaviness and with a good balance between sugar, acidity and fruity flavors. They are wines to wait for, as they have an exceptional ageing potential, which does not prevent them from being enjoyed young.
What are the characteristics of the Sauternes appellation?
The vineyard of Sauternes benefits from adequate conditions, the vines being planted on soils composed of gravel, as well as on clay and limestone soils. They benefit above all from the presence of the Garonne and more precisely from its tributary, the Ciron. The latter, favoring the night fogs during the autumn mornings, creates a microclimate that allows the development of a fungus, the Botrytis Cinerea, at the origin of the famous noble rot. This fungus dehydrates the berries, allowing them to concentrate in sugars and to develop the aromas so recognizable of the wines of Sauternes. The harvest of these overripe grapes is done manually, grain by grain, with several successive selections.
Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle flourish on this exceptional terroir.
- The Semillon is present in great majority, bringing to the wines aromatic finesse, harmony and complexity.
- Sauvignon Blanc is present alongside Semillon, where it gives the wines vivacity and freshness.
- The Muscadelle is very much in the minority, and brings muscatel notes and aromatic richness.
What are the emblematic properties of the appellation Sauternes?
The appellation Sauternes includes many Grands Crus Classés in 1855, 18 in total, grouped into three categories:
- 1 First Grand Cru Superior : Château d'Yquem
- 9 Premiers Grands Crus Classés : Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey, Château Guiraud, Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Château Rabaud-Promis, Château de Rayne-Vigneau, Château Rieussec, Château Sigalas-Rabaud, Château Suduiraut
- 8 Sec Grands Crus Classés: Château d'Arche, Château Filhot, Château Lamothe, Château Lamothe-Guignard, Château de Malle, Château de Myrat, Château Romer du Hayot