Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sauternes - something sweet

Here's a mighty good intro from Wiki:
Sauternes is a French sweet wine from the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux. Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. This causes the grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines. Due to its climate, Sauternes is one of the few wine regions where infection with noble rot is a frequent occurrence. Even so, production is a hit-or-miss proposition, with widely varying harvests from vintage to vintage.
I personally love sweet wine - this has been a bit of a joke with my wine loving friends who prefer drier wines and pretty much think that sweet wines are nothing more than grape juice. But hey, I am all for individuality and I will proudly say, I love sweet wines. I really adore Sauternes. It can be quite hard to find out side of France and most probably it is because wine snobs like my friends are consistently ignoring sweet wines.

While I like cheaper sweet whites (will save this for another post), Sauternes is one which has pedigree. Sauternes' wines have been around for a long time (documented since 17th century) and are extremely expensive to make, hence the end product is not cheap too. Premier Cru Supérieur from the estate of Château d'Yquem is supposedly the most premium you can get. This poor cat has never tried it but what other 'cheap' ones I had was never disappointing. Sauternes typically starts out with a golden, yellow color that becomes progressively darker as it ages - so find the darkest shade that you can and if possible from a good year of harvest that fits your budget. 

Sauternes can be drank as an aperitif to being a dessert wine and whatever is in between. Like other white wines, it is usually served chilled. I (please take this with a pinch of salt as I am no sommelier) would suggest having it with stronger tasting food.. as it is a 'strong' and sweet wine. I feel that it goes especially well with South East Asian food which is heavier on the spices, or spicy food in general as the sweetness work well with the spices. Traditionally food pairing however is - Sauternes with Foie gras. 

Here's a list of the vintages if you are interested... 2007 is a good year it seems a 2008 no so good for instance.. but for me, I justly just go ahead and grab something I fancy that fits the budget. One man's meat is another man's poison and you don't know until you try.. if you don't get it right, try and try again.. mm somehow that sounds like the recipe for alcoholism.

Happy drinking!


  1. I have never been good at picking out what wine goes with what dish. But this helps! Hope you have many travels in 2014!

  2. Wow, never tried this one! Does it taste like port wine? Or like german ice wine? Or like Cinzano?

  3. J, thanks - hope you have a great year ahead too and looking forward to more of your post!
    R, it more like white ice wine that taste like port.. hehehe u should try it.. but there is a a good layer to it no just wine with lots of sugar!